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Veteran Walmart executive dies at 82


Influential and longtime Walmart executive Don Soderquist died after complications related to heart surgery. He was 82.

Soderquist joined Walmart in 1980 as executive VP of administration and logistics and was a driving force behind the company’s growth. From 1988 to 1999, he served as vice chairman and COO. He retired in 2000 and remained on the Walmart board until 2002.

Soderquist was a key figure in Walmart’s rise to the top of American retailing. During his tenure, the company said its revenue increased from $1 billion to more than $200 billion.

After retirement, Soderquist established The Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics in Northwest Arkansas to provide values-focused development training to future generations of leaders.

In 2005, he wrote the book “The Wal-Mart Way,” to teach others how to apply the lessons that made Walmart successful to their own lives and careers. And to the end, he remained a key adviser to Walmart employees and executives, even doing a presentation in recent months at the retailer’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Soderquist was also involved in numerous charitable organizations and served on several corporate boards.

“Don epitomized the term servant leader,” wrote Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon wrote in a posting on the chain’s website. “He was always thinking of others, provided great feedback and was encouraging to so many people. He had a deep passion for integrity, and it was Don who drafted our original core values. Don became known as the “Keeper of the Culture” after our founder, Sam Walton, passed away because he not only helped define our values – he lived out our culture and spoke passionately about it year after year.”
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