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Michael T. Duke, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., will be inducted into the Network of Executive Women (NEW) CPG/Retail Diversity Hall of Fame, on June 28 during Women’s Day at the LPGA in Rogers, Ark., an official event of the Walmart Northwest Arkansas LPGA golf championship. The breakfast event will be co-hosted by NEW Northwest Arkansas June 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the John Q. Hammons Center.
At the event, Duke (left) will receive the NEW William J. Grize Diversity Hall of Fame Award, named after the late CEO of Ahold USA, an early advocate of industry diversity. The award, formerly known as the NEW Outstanding Champion Award, recognizes industry leaders who have demonstrated “an enduring commitment to the advancement of women and to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace,” according to NEW.
The event will also feature a panel discussion by such industry leaders as Duke; Gisel Ruiz, EVP and COO of Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart US; Elane Stock, president of Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark Professional; and past NEW board chair Alison Kenney Paul, vice chair, U.S. retail leader, principal for New York-based Deloitte. The event is open to industry members who register online.
“Under Mike Duke’s leadership, the world’s largest retail company has promoted talented women to the highest levels,” noted NEW president and CEO Joan Toth. “His commitment to gender diversity and inclusion has put a spotlight on the importance and value of developing women leaders and continues to strengthen Walmart’s position in the marketplace.”
“We know that companies with more women in leadership are also more successful,” said Duke. “Our core customers are women, and they are making the majority of the buying decisions for their homes. If we are to truly understand these customers and give them what they need, we should reflect the people we serve.”
Walmart has promoted women to a number of key positions during Duke’s tenure as president and CEO. In January 2012, Rosalind Brewer, the first chair of the Walmart President’s Council of Global Women Leaders, became the first woman and African-American to head one of Walmart’s three business units when she became chief executive of Sam’s Club. At the same time, Walmart named Ruiz EVP and COO of its U.S. business and Karenann Terrell CIO.
Last autumn, Duke introduced the Walmart Global Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative, which leverages the company’s size and scale to help empower women across its supply chain. Over the next five years, the company will source $20 billion from women-owned businesses in the United States and double sourcing from female suppliers globally.
Further, Duke has been a longtime supporter of NEW, calling it a “national model and a true change agent.”
Chicago-based NEW, the consumer products and retail industry’s largest diversity organization, has more than 5,000 members in 19 regions in the United States and Canada.