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BENTONVILLE, AR-Michael T. Duke has been appointed president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. by the company’s board of directors. Duke will assume his new duties on February 1, 2009, when Lee Scott Jr. steps down from both positions.

According to a Nov. 21 SEC filing, Wal-Mart’s board of directors appointed Duke to the position on Nov. 20, five days after Scott announced his retirement. Duke has also been elected to the board. Scott, in the meantime, will remain in Wal-Mart’s employ until January 31, 2011 as chairman of the executive committee to the board of directors of the company.

Since 2005, Duke has served as Wal-Mart’s vice chairman, with responsibility for Wal-Mart International. He will continue in that position until January 31, 2009. Duke came on board with Wal-Mart in 1995 as senior president of logistics and later became the company’s executive vice president of logistics. Duke has also served as executive vice president of administration, president and CEO of Walmart US.

The board selected Eduardo Castro-Wright, currently CEO of Walmart US, to the position of vice chairman, effective Feb. 1. Castro-Wright will continue overseeing Walmart US, as well as taking on the additional responsibility of the company’s global procurement operation. Castro-Wright has also served as vice president, president and COO of Walmart US and as president and CEO of Wal-Mart de Mexico.

An article posted on ArkansasBusiness.com quoted senior retail analyst Joseph Feldman with Telsey Advisory Group LLC of NYC as “surprised by the timing of the announcement.” Though expressing surprise at Scott’s imminent retirement, Feldman acknowledged he was happy with the board’s selection of Duke, as Duke oversaw every major division in Wal-Mart since the mid-1990s.

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