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Wal-Mart executive bonus pay tempered by weaker financials

story by Kim Souza
ksouza@thecitywire.com

Former CEO Wal-Mart Mike Duke earned $15.1 million less money in fiscal 2014 than in prior year, but he still collected $5.64 million in compensation as he transitioned into retirement effective Jan. 31.

Duke’s pay was reduced because he did not receive stock awards which are given in anticipation of future financial performance over a three year period, according to Randy  Hargrove, Wal-Mart corporate spokesman. Like his colleagues, Duke’s performance bonus pay slipped on the retail giant’s weaker financials during fiscal 2014.

The 64-year-old Duke earned a base salary of $1.366 million, with a cash bonus of $2.846 million. The bonus was 35% less than earned in the prior year. He also earned $940,000 in deferred compensation pension funds with $490,000 in other paid expenses.

Doug McMillon took over as CEO for Wal-Mart Stores on Feb. 1. His total compensation reported in fiscal 2014 is $25.592 million bolstered by a $23 million stock award noted in this year’s proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Hargrove said that stock award is recorded this year, but it is linked to future financial performance. He said that also includes deferred stock awards McMillon earned as CEO of Walmart International.

McMillon’s base salary for fiscal 2014 was $954,408 as CEO of Walmart International. His bonus pay totaled $1.035 million, down 33% from the prior year.

The total compensation for other top executives listed in the proxy filing include:
• Charles Holley, chief financial officer: $8.199 million, bonus of $827,000 – down 33%
• Bill Simon, CEO Walmart U.S.: $13.054 million, bonus of $2.9 million – down 18.4%
• Neil Ashe, CEO Walmart Global eCommerce: $13.178 million, bonus $1.03 million – down 20%.
• Rosalind Brewer, CEO Sam’s Club: $11.66 million, bonus $1.28 million – down 12.5%

In a separate release on Wednesday (April 23), Wal-Mart announced that two of directors will not seek re-election to its board for fiscal 2015. Former CEO Lee Scott is stepping away from board service in June in keeping with the retailer’s succession plan, Hargrove said. 

He said it is customary for the retailer to have one retired CEO on its board. This coming year that will be Mike Duke. Chris Williams, an independent director, is rotating off the board after 10 years of service. Hargrove said this is in accordance with the company’s governance policies.

“Lee and Chris have demonstrated thoughtful and insightful leadership in their service and commitment to the Board,” Rob Walton chairman of the board of directors, said in a statement. “We offer our deep thanks to both for their service to our company, our board and our shareholders.”

Scott served as Wal-Mart’s CEO from January 2000 until his retirement on Jan. 31, 2009. 

“During his 30 years of service, Lee’s extraordinary contributions helped us make significant strides in areas such as sustainability, reputation, diversity and inclusion of all people,” Walton noted. “My dad would have been proud of Lee’s accomplishments in leading Walmart. As they worked together, he understood the valuable role Lee played in managing logistics and the importance of our professional drivers.”

The board will consist of 14 directors, all of which will stand for re-election at the company’s shareholder meeting on June 6. The board candidates are Aida Alvarez, Dr. James Cash, Roger Corbett, Pamela Craig, Doug Daft, Mike Duke, Tim Flynn, Marissa Mayer, Doug McMillon, Greg Penner, Steven Reinemund, Jim Walton, Rob Walton and Linda Wolf.

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Wal-Mart has taken it on the chin from union-backed groups for years advocating for higher wages and better working conditions. But one of the more vocal groups, OUR Walmart, said they are hopeful about the management shift and they support the departure of Scott and Williams.

“We hope the board shift and new CEO — along with the recent policy changes to provide more hours and basic protections for pregnant workers — are signs that Walmart will continue listening to its workforce and move in a positive direction for America. We hope that the departure of Mr. Williams and Mr. Scott provide an opening for new, independent voices at Walmart,” Barbara Gertz, OUR Walmart member who is employed by Wal-Mart Stores in Aurora, Colo., said in a statement.

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