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BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. said yesterday that Thomas M. Coughlin, vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., would retire effective Jan. 24, 2005, after more than 25 years with the retailer.
Coughlin, 54, joined Wal-Mart in 1978 in the company's security division, and was named vice chairman of Wal-Mart and elected to the board of directors in April 2003. Among the other key positions he has held at the retailer are e.v.p. of Sam's Club operations, e.v.p. of Wal-Mart Store operations, and president and c.e.o. of Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, and Sam's Clubs (U.S.A.). Coughlin will serve out his remaining term on the corporate board through the company's annual shareholder meeting on June 3, 2005.
Coughlin's current responsibilities include the Wal-Mart stores, Sam's Club, and Walmart.com businesses in the United States, as well as the following company divisions: logistics, real estate, store planning, global procurement, compliance, and the company's diversity office. Various members of Wal-Mart's senior management team will take on Coughlin's responsibilities after he retires.
"Tom Coughlin has achieved one of the most successful business careers that anyone could imagine, and he is a great example of what a person can accomplish in the retail field today," said H. Lee Scott, president and c.e.o. of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., in a statement. "Tom has worked in so many different areas of retail that he understands the business and has developed a talent for breaking challenging retail issues into simple solutions. I learned from Tom during our years together and am grateful to him for that."
Noted Rob Walton, chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., "I know that my father, Sam Walton, would be proud of Tom's career at Wal-Mart and the role he has played in the growth and development of the company. Tom is a talented leader, and I particularly respect the special relationship that he has built with our associates in the field. This says a lot about how well Tom Coughlin represents the Wal-Mart culture."
Said Coughlin, "It is tough to leave Wal-Mart, but the fact is we've got the people in place who are ready to step up and perform at the highest level. As the management team continues to develop, I'm confident they will be better than I ever thought about being. Speaking personally and for the business, it is simply the right time for me to move on."