Bill Simon, Walmart’s U.S. president and CEO, will be stepping down from his position, the company announced Thursday. Simon joined Walmart in 2006 and was appointed to his current role in June 2010, USA Today reports. His replacement, Greg Foran, will take over for Simon starting August 9, according to The Huffington Post.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. The Reason Behind Simon’s Departure Isn’t Known
The reason behind Simon’s departure isn’t known, but Walmart has been struggling recently, according to The Huffington Post. According to The Wall Street Journal, Simon told CNBC declining unemployment isn’t enticing people to come to Walmart. He told Reuters in June:
People think we do better in a down economy. We don’t. We do better when the GDP is growing, when the economy’s good and we really need that in the long run for the business to improve.
2. He Will Be a Consultant for the Company After he Steps Down
According to USA Today, Simon will work as a consultant for the company in the sixth months following his departure, “to ensure a seamless transition.” David Tovar, a spokesperson for Walmart, told USA Today Simon worked closely with CEO of Walmart Inc. Doug McMillon to determine, “the right time to leave.” Tovar also added Simon, “is leaving on good terms.”
3. He Was a top Candidate to Become CEO of Walmart Inc.
Reuters reports Simon was a top candidate to become CEO of the entire company and was unhappy when he was overlooked for the position, which ultimately went to current CEO Doug McMillan. Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough said of Simon’s departure:
Walmart U.S. has not been knocking the cover off the ball. They have lagged. So it looks like Doug was looking at a fresh perspective and Simon wanted to leave.
4. Simon’s Credited With Spearheading Walmart’s $4 Prescription Program
According to a release from Walmart, Simon’s work lead Walmart to attempt to lower the cost of healthcare by introducing a $4 prescription program. He is also credited with creating more career opportunities for Walmart associates and committed the company to hiring more veterans as associates. In the release, Simon said:
Whether we’re helping associates earn more for their families or providing customers affordable prices so they can put food on the dinner table, Walmart is a company that is, truly, changing people’s lives. It’s been an honor to work for Walmart over the past eight years, and this felt like the right time to move on and focus on my next opportunity. I look forward to helping the company as much as I can over the next six months.
5. Before Joining Walmart, Simon Worked for Jeb Bush
According to Simon’s Walmart biography, he served as secretary to the Florida Department of Management Services after being appointed by then-Gov. Jeb Bush. He held senior sales and marketing roles at several food companies including Cadbury-Schweppes, PepsiCo and RJR-Nabisco. He spent 25 years in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves and earned his undergraduate degree and MBA at the University of Connecticut.