BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart CEO Mike Duke today announced that he is retiring from the position he has held since 2009 in order to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with his family.
“This was a difficult decision for me,” said Duke. “In the end, it came down to the fact that the way the company has chosen to pay employees during the holidays was going to end up costing me a lot of money, so I knew it was time to get out.”
While competing retailers such as Target, Sears, and Toys R Us which are paying employees time and a half for working on Thanksgiving, Walmart has come up with its own system. The retailer is paying employees their regular wage plus additional pay tied to the average daily wage in the two weeks leading up to the holiday. However, employees routinely complain that their hours are cut drastically during those two weeks, which not only hurts the employees during those two weeks, it lowers the amount they can make on Thanksgiving.
“While I was certainly tempted to stay by the generous holiday employee offerings,” continued Duke, referring to Walmart’s offer to of a free Thanksgiving meal and a 25% discount off a single purchase for employees who work the holiday, “in the end, it came down to basic economics. The writing was on the wall when I noticed I’d been given the entire week before Thanksgiving off as ‘unpaid personal time,’” said Duke. “I’m better off cashing in my retirement package.” Duke’s retirement package is valued at over $113 million, nearly 6,200 times larger than the average Walmart employee 401(k).
“This is a great company and it has been an honor to help advance Sam Walton’s vision of giving people around the world a better life,” said Duke.