Wal-Mart's New Chief Faces Old Woes

Doug McMillon has big challenges abroad and at home

The incoming chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores, 47-year-old Doug McMillon, is a company man and a native of Arkansas—the retailer’s home base. By most accounts he’s well-liked, engaging, and accessible. The $470 billion empire he’ll be running come February, when Mike Duke retires, could use a good dose of all that. But it also needs a lot more: The world’s biggest retailer must contend with slowing sales in the U.S. and abroad, an underwhelming digital presence, allegations of corruption at its Mexican subsidiary, and worker protests over low wages. “Wal-Mart, and all of retail, is at a crossroads,” says Carol Spieckerman, the founder of Newmarketbuilders, a retail strategy firm. “Wal-Mart’s sheer size makes it difficult to drive growth. Most retailers are happy if they’re not going backward.”

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