Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s board members Monday elected a new chief executive and president to succeed Mike Duke, 63, in a transition that had been rumored for months as the retailer struggled with slow sales growth.
Doug McMillon, 47, is scheduled to take the reins Feb. 1, the company said, about four years after Duke stepped into the roles in 2009.
McMillon is chief executive of Wal-Mart International. His successor is to be announced by the end of the Bentonville, Ark., company's fiscal year Jan. 31.
Duke will stay on as chairman of the executive committee of the board and, as is traditional, will also advise McMillon for a year, Wal-Mart said. The company said Duke ultimately plans to retire.
McMillon, who first joined Wal-Mart as a summer associate at a distribution center in 1984, will immediately join the company's board.
Wal-Mart made the announcement just days before heading into Black Friday, one of the busiest days of the holiday shopping season. In a challenging retail environment marked by few strong months this year, Wal-Mart is planning to launch its door-buster deals on Thanksgiving Day.
Wal-Mart's U.S. sales increased 1.6% to $202.9 billion in the nine months ended Oct. 31, compared with the same period a year earlier. International sales were up 2% to $98.8 billion.
"This leadership change comes at a time of strength and growth at Wal-Mart," Rob Walton, chairman of Wal-Mart's board of directors and a scion of its founding family, said in a statement.
Wal-Mart shares rose 62 cents, or less than 1%, to $80.43. During Duke's tenure, the stock has risen 90%.
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