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Legendary Walmart exec dies | Chain Store Age

A former CEO of Walmart who later went on to own the Kansas City Royals baseball team has died at the age of 84.

David Glass, who served as president and CEO of Walmart Inc. from 1988 to 2000 and is considered one of the major architects of the company’s rapid growth, died Jan. 9 of complications associated with pneumonia, according to the Glass family. Most recently, Glass was owner and CEO of the Kansas City Royals, which he and his family sold the Royals late last year.

Glass joined Walmart as CFO in 1976, recruited by company founder Sam Walton. He was named president and CEO of Walmart in 1988 and served in that role for 12 years. In a statement, Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Walmart Inc., described Glass as “the most under-appreciated CEO in the history of business.”

“The results of the company and the choices he made set the company up for a long run into the future,” McMillon said. “He would often say, “we are just getting started.” The reason some under-appreciate his impact was his humility.”

Added Rob Walton, former Walmart chairman and eldest son of Sam Walton : “More than anyone beyond Sam Walton, David Glass is responsible for making Walmart the company it is today. On behalf of the entire Walton family, I want to express our appreciation for David as a leader and as a friend.” 

Glass is credited with guiding Walmart  through a period of extraordinary growth both in terms of revenues and expansion, including retail acquisitions, expansions including new retail formats and significant international expansion. Specifically, under Glass’ leadership, Walmart:

  • Increased annual revenues from $16 billion in the fiscal year ending January 31, 1988, to approximately $165 billion in revenues in the fiscal year ending January 31, 2000.
  • Launched Walmart Supercenters and expanded Sam’s Club.
  • Expanded international operations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the U.K.

A lifelong baseball fan starting as a child when he followed the St. Louis Cardinals, Glass was appointed interim chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Royals in 1993 upon the death of then-owner Ewing Kauffman. Glass and his family acquired the Royals in 2000.

The Glass family will hold a public “Celebration of Life” in his honor on Monday, January 27, 2020, at 1 p.m. the Northwest Arkansas Fellowship Bible Church, in Rogers, Ark. 


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