The position of CFO at Walmart is a “complex” and “critical” position


Walmart has a full year to find a replacement for CFO Brett Biggs, who announced his retirement effective January 31, 2023. Biggs spent 22 years at Walmart, spending the last six as CFO and helping the company grow. go through a period of growth. despite a global pandemic, workforce and supply chain challenges.

The role of the CFO is to manage the finances of the company, assess the risks associated with investments, acquisitions and divestitures, keep budgets intact to enable revenue and profit growth while protecting dividends from shareholders and striving to satisfy stock analysts by traveling and speaking at investor conferences on a regular basis.

Alan Ellstrand, associate dean for programs and research at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, said the role of the CFO has evolved over the years and continues to change with the use of analysis, financial technology and hedging strategies. use. He said the role of CFO is one of the two most strategic management positions. He said that in addition to making the numbers work, compliance issues also often fall on the CFO’s office, and then there’s the rhetoric of quarterly earnings that needs to be constantly sold to analysts and investment firms.

“It is a very complex job and essential to the success of the company. I’m sure Walmart has some talented candidates in-house, but a year’s notice also gives the company a chance to cast a wider net for its replacement. Walmart has time to think about how it occupies this critical position, ”Ellstrand said.

Biggs, 53, is Walmart’s third CFO since 2010. Thomas Schoewe held the position from 2000 to 2011 when he retired at 58. General Motors. Schoewe spent 14 years with Black and Decker. Schoewe’s total compensation in his final year as CFO at Walmart was $ 7.216 million. For much of Schoewe’s tenure, Walmart US struggled to increase sales of model kits. Walmart’s stock price at the start of Schoewe’s tenure as CFO was $ 54.75 and had only risen by $ 55.07 by the time Schoewe left Walmart after a decade on the job.

Charles Holley replaced Schoewe as CFO in January 2011 after joining the company in 1994 from Tandy Corp. Holley oversaw Walmart’s financial affairs as part of the retail giant’s Department of Justice antitrust investigation into violations of the Corrupt Practices Abroad Act. Holley was responsible for acceptance and controls, corporate strategy and development, business planning and analysis, internal audit, treasury, tax and relations with Investors. In his final year as CFO at Walmart, Holley earned total compensation of $ 7.431 million.

Holley was 59 when he left Walmart and has since served on the boards of Amgen, Phillips 66 and Carrier Global Corp. He also worked as a Senior Advisor at Deloitte from 2015 to 2019 and is on the McCombs School Advisory Board. of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and the Presidents Development Council of the University of Texas.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in 2015 that Holley oversaw Walmart’s global financial and strategic areas during a period of immense growth and change for the company. The company’s shares closed at $ 66.36 when Holley left Walmart. During his five-year tenure as CFO, Walmart’s stock price rose 20.5% or a compound annual rate of 4.1%.

When Biggs took over as CFO, McMillon called him “well prepared” having held various roles across Walmart’s three lines of business. McMillon said in 2016 that Biggs “fully understands the operations of Walmart, how we intend to be competitive in a dynamic and changing retail environment, and how we can better serve customers, associates and shareholders.”

Biggs previously served as Chief Financial Officer of Walmart’s International Division, where he was responsible for international strategy and financial activities including business planning and analysis, financial services, and real estate and merger support. and acquisitions. He also served as CFO of Walmart US between 2012 and 2014 and Sam’s Club before that. McMillon followed a similar path in his role after serving as CEO of Sam’s Club and then leading international affairs as CEO under Mike Duke’s tenure as CEO of Walmart Inc.

Ellstrand said with Walmart adding a revenue director in October, it will be interesting to see if the CFO role changes for Biggs’ successor. He said the chief revenue officer has become popular in recent years, especially in the tech space. He said Walmart is unlikely to be short of candidates for the job.

Ellstrand wasn’t surprised to see Biggs retire earlier than the others, given the pressures and difficulty that come with working, given Walmart’s strong financial situation.

“His contributions have been key to the important steps we have taken to transform the business on our omni journey,” McMillon said Monday. “Brett elevated the financial organization and strengthened the team through his commitment to excellence and talent development…

When Biggs took over as CFO in January 2016, Walmart’s share price was $ 61.30 and the retailer had a market cap of $ 196.59 billion. As of December 2, Walmart (NYSE: WMT) shares were trading at $ 137.41 with a market cap of $ 383.084 billion. Walmart grew revenues by more than $ 559 billion annually until last year and is expected to reach $ 572.13 billion this year ending Jan.31, 2022, and $ 588.92 billion the following year. when Biggs retires. Revenue increased to $ 482.13 billion in fiscal 2016, when Biggs was appointed CFO. That’s an increase of $ 76.87 billion from last year and $ 90 billion from estimated revenues for this year ending Jan.31. If the forecast holds true, Walmart’s annual revenue growth by the end of Biggs’ tenure would be $ 106.79 billion or 15.25% compound annual growth over seven years.

Walmart rewarded Biggs with an increase in revenue linked to financial performance. Biggs earned total compensation of $ 9.123 million. Since taking office in January 2016, Biggs has earned more than $ 49.957 million in total compensation.


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