After a four-year stint as CEO, Walmart’s chief U.S. executive Bill Simon will be stepping down. According to the Huffington Post, Simon will be replaced by Walmart’s president and Asia CEO Greg Foran.While there is no official statement regarding Simon’s departure at this time, many analysts have speculated that Walmart’s spiraling U.S. sales may be a primary factor in the decision.Walmart’s image has also taken a major hit in the last decade, particularly since Simon took over as CEO in 2010. The company has seen a rise in worker protests in many of its stores across the country, with labor organizing groups such as Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) organizing in-store protests and wildcat strikes over the company’s low wages, short hours and poor working conditions. Such claims were emboldened by an April 2014 report from American for Tax Fairness, which found that Walmart’s low wages force its employees to go on food stamps and other social services, costing U.S. taxpayers $6.2 billion a year.In an effort to mitigate the negative sentiment towards the company, Walmart has pushed for more of an online presence (a fight it has been losing against Amazon); it also plans on opening smaller stores this year.Simon, who’s worked with Walmart since 2006, will remain on as a consultant for six months before leaving the company.
Carlos Ballesteros is a freelance writer based in Chicago. He was born and raised in the South Side and recently graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in History.