Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) has appointed Doug McMillon as the new CEO to replace CEO Mike Duke, who would retire next year. Duke will remain chairman of the board’s executive committee at Wal-Mart and will also act as an adviser to McMillon for one year.Wal-mart

Walton praised Doug

McMillon was a topline executive while working at Sam’s Club (Wal-Mart’s discount club chain) and later became its CEO. He will take up his role as CEO on February 1, 2014.

“This leadership change comes at a time of strength and growth at Walmart,” Chairman Rob Walton said in a statement.  He added that the company has the right strategy to offer service to customers around the world and that Mr. McMillon has been active in the process. Also, Wal-Mart has a strong management team to implement the strategy, according to Walton.

The retailer announced the change of leadership just a few days before Thanksgiving and Black Friday, which is the biggest shopping day of the year. Walton said that McMillon is uniquely positioned to take the company forward globally and to fulfill changing customer needs at the same time, as well as preserving company values and culture. Further, Walton noted that McMillon has deep experience with successful senior leadership roles in almost every business division of Wal-Mart along with an in-depth knowledge of economic, social and technological trends shaping the world.

He went on to say that McMillon is a merchant at heart, and a long association of his with the company together with a deep understanding of the customers globally will assist him in taking the company forward.

Duke satisfied with Wal-Mart

Duke started working in Wal-Mart from 1995, and has acted as president and CEO since February 2009. From 2005 to February 2009, Duke served as the vice chairman to look after the International business.

Duke said that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is a great company, and it has been an honor to be a part of Sam Walton’s vision of giving people, all over the world, a better life.

“Our associates make it all possible and I’ve learned so much from them”, said Duke. He said that the associates continue to inspire him with their commitment to follow the values of the company, giving the customers the right service and taking care of each other.

In pre-market trading, shares of Wal-Mart gained 15 cents to $79.96.