Walmart CEO Doug McMillon began his career with the company as a summer associate in a distribution centre and cut his teeth further by working in a store in Tulsa while working on his MBA.

But much of his 22-year career has been in merchandising in the Walmart U.S. division, with experience in food, apparel and general merchandise. He has also held various merchandising positions at Sam’s Club and Walmart International, in addition to holding leadership roles in all three operating segments of the company.

In 2006, he got his first truly high-profile job in the company, as CEO of Sam’s Club. Three years later, he took over the store’s international operations.  McMillon was promoted to succeed Mike Duke, 63, as president and chief executive officer of Walmart on 25 November last year, and now also sits on the company’s board of directors.

Key achievements

  • Rising from loading dock worker to Walmart CEO in three decades.
  • Growing international sales to 29% of the company’s total.
  • During McMillon’s tenure as president and CEO at Walmart International, he grew revenues by more than $50bn and added nearly 3,000 new stores.

Lessons for your store

  1. Relationships are important – McMillon was close to the Walton family, which owns about half of the retailer’s shares.
  2. Every experience counts – McMillon was favoured as CEO largely due to his top-to-bottom knowledge of the company, gained from working in his various positions.
  3. Qualifications don’t determine your future – McMillon originally trained to be an accountant.