Remarks as Prepared for Rob Walton and Greg Penner
The final member of the Board who I will mention is Greg Penner. Greg joined our board in 2008, and he has done a fantastic job for us. He has served on our strategic planning and finance committee. He has made an especially big, strategic impact for the company as chair of the technology and eCommerce committee. And of course Greg has served as our vice-chairman over the past year.
Now before I invite Greg to come on stage for an announcement, let me tell you a little more about him. After working for Goldman Sachs out of college, Greg moved to Arkansas and joined our company. He started as a management trainee at a store not too far from here in Siloam Springs. Greg then worked in Merchandising at the Home Office and went on to various leadership positions at Walmart.com and Seiyu in Japan.
Since leaving the company in 2005, Greg has been a very successful investor. He spends a lot of time working with boards and leadership teams, both here in the U.S. and in China. That experience is really going to come in handy. That's because -- although I intend to continue to serve on the Board -- this will be my last shareholder meeting as chairman. With my full support -- and the full support of the Board and our family -- Greg Penner will be taking over the chairman's role.
We're very fortunate to have a leader of Greg's capacity as our new chairman. He knows Walmart. He loves Walmart. And he's sharp as a tack. He was smart enough to marry my daughter, Carrie, after all. Greg is going to do a great job leading the Board and serving all of Walmart's shareholders. So let's welcome Greg as our new chairman. Greg, do you want to say a few words?
Thank you so much, Rob. I am really excited about taking on this new role. I also feel a deep sense of responsibility. It’s not lost on me that there have only been two people who have served as chairman of Walmart – Sam Walton and then you for the past 23 years. I’m grateful for the Board’s trust and will give my absolute best to them, our family and all of our Walmart shareholders and associates.
In preparation for this role, Rob, I’ve spent time out listening to some really smart and experienced people. One of the most insightful leaders I had the chance to sit down with was Sam Palmisano, the former Chairman and CEO of IBM. He told me that he sees a good board as being challenging to the leadership team and asking the tough questions, but also giving them the room and confidence to run the business, make changes, and have a long-term impact.
When it comes to our board – because of our family’s commitment combined with strong independent director voices – we have a great balance. This is so important right now with the tremendous change that all of retail is going through.
The last thing I’d like to do, Rob, is appreciate you. It would be impossible to overstate the impact that you’ve had on Walmart and how personally committed you’ve been to the company over the years. You’ve been a great mentor to me and to so many of our leaders. No one -- no one -- could fill your shoes. I just hope to live up to the example you’ve set as chairman and as a person who cares so deeply about this company and its people.