Wal-Mart Stores replaced CEO and President Mike Duke and named Doug McMillon as its new leader after a rough period for the world’s largest retailer in which it became embroiled in a bribery scandal.
The 63-year-old Duke will stay on as chairman and advise McMillon for a year.
The appointment of McMillon, 47, is effective Feb. 1, 2014. He was previously CEO of Walmart International and will join the company’s board of directors immediately.
Wal-Mart paid bribes in Mexico to speed building permits and gain other favors, The New York Times reported last year. After starting an internal investigation into the allegations, senior Wal-Mart officials halted the probe in 2006 despite having found lots of evidence, the newspaper said.
After initially denying that company directors knew of the bribes paid to Mexican officials, e-mails released earlier this year by U.S. lawmakers appeared to show that Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke learned about the payments as early as 2005. In May, a U.S. judge ordered Wal-Mart attorneys to turn over more documents to shareholders trying to find out what and when directors knew about the Mexico payments.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating potential evidence of bribery, Wal-Mart disclosed in a Nov. 2012 regulatory filing. The company widened its internal examination of the issue to include “a number of foreign markets where we operate, including but not limited to Brazil, China and India,” the filing also stated.
The change in CEOs may not result in big strategy shifts, according to a statement from Rob Walton, chairman of Walmart’s board and a member of the company’s founding family which still owns a lot of stock in the retail behemoth.
“The company has the right strategy to serve the changing customer around the world, and Doug has been actively involved in this process,” Walton said.
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