When you’re president and CEO of the largest retailer on the planet — 11,300 stores and 2.2 million employees worldwide, generating a half-trillion dollars in sales annually — your inclusion on lists of influencers is generally automatic. But it’s how he uses his influence that sets Doug McMillon apart from many rich and powerful CEOs.
McMillon has made the Bentonville behemoth an ally to busy customers and employees alike (called associates in Walmart lingo). Investing heavily in associate wages, benefits and education — including a debt-free, dollar-a-day college program and an expanded parental leave policy – McMillon seeks to build a lasting corporate legacy of responsibility and ethical behavior.
In doing that, he’s repeatedly shown a willingness to row against the current, even in Walmart’s deep red-state markets, on issues ranging from diversity to guns. He’s implemented policies banning customers from openly carrying guns in Walmart stores and launched an ambitious environmental program, Project Gigaton, to combat climate change and work with suppliers to avoid 1 billion metric tons of emissions worldwide.
McMillon has also shown a propensity for service. The Jonesboro native is the incoming chairman of the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies. He serves on the boards of directors of the Consumer Goods Forum, the U.S.-China Business Council and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. He also sits on the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board and the advisory board of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing, China.