Linda S. Wolf

Share Button

Quick facts

Family: Married to Ronald D. Wolf; two adult sons

Age: 65

Residence: Chicago, IL

 

Wolf is the retired chair and CEO of Leo Burnett Worldwide. She has served on Walmart’s Board of Directors since 2005, and she sits on the Compensation, Nominating and Governance Committee as well as the Technology and eCommerce Committee.

Refusal to address concerns of Walmart associates

Members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) and their allies have repeatedly reached out to Linda Wolf for her to listen to their concerns. Ms. Wolf has repeatedly ignored these requests (see here for a detailed list of efforts by Walmart associates to have Ms. Wolf listen to their concerns).

Wealth

Real estate

Wolf’s previous Chicago home sold for over $2.4 million in August 2012. Linda and Ron Wolf also own a home in Nantucket, MA. In 2003, the Wolfs bought a parcel of land in Nantucket for over $1.6 million. On it, they constructed a 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom home as well as a two-bedroom guest house. The property is now valued at over $3.6 million.

Corporate pay

In 2012, Wolf received $279,019 in compensation for serving on the Walmart Board of Directors. She owns about $2.2 million of Walmart stock.[1]

Educational and professional background

Education

  • Ohio Wesleyan University: Bachelor’s degree, Spanish, 1969

Professional life

Wolf retired as chair and CEO of Chicago-based ad agency Leo Burnett Worldwide in 2005. She spent most of her career with the company, starting out there in 1978 as an account executive on the Nescafe account. In 1991, she was named Executive Vice President, Business Development for Leo Burnett USA.

In 1996, she became Leo Burnett USA’s first female President, responsible for all US operations. In 2001, Wolf was named CEO and chairperson of Leo Burnett Worldwide. Though she lacked much international experience when she took the position, Wolf was responsible for Leo Burnett Worldwide’s operations, with offices in more than 80 countries and more than 8,000 employees.

In 2004, the U.S. Army, then a client of Leo Burnett USA (LBUSA), brought suit against Leo Burnett for overbilling its services. The suit alleged that LBUSA falsely and deliberately portrayed its advertising unit, called iLEO, as a subcontractor and billed the government accordingly. The company also billed work done by copywriters at the same rate as that of top executives.

Then-CFO Eric Martinez had objected internally to the overbilling and ordered an audit, but before he could carry it out, CEO Wolf fired him. In 2009 Leo Burnett settled the suit with the U.S. Army for $15.5 million.

Prior to Leo Burnett, Wolf worked for Heinz in Pittsburgh.

Walmart shareholders have increasingly expressed concern about Wolf’s leadership of the company. In 2013, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System voted against all of Walmart’s board members, including Ms. Wolf. Calpers, the nation’s largest pension fund, voted against her as well, explaining “in light of the continuing concerns around the company’s record on sustainability issues we are withholding support from Linda Wolf who chairs the Nominating and Governance Committee which reviews and advises management on the company’s social, community and sustainability initiatives.” The New York City Pension Funds voted against Wolf too, also citing her role on the Nominating Committee and “for failing to ensure adequate board independence.”

Corporate boards

  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.: Director since 2005. Chair of the Compensation, Nominating and Governance committee. Serves on the Technology and eCommerce committee.
  • InnerWorkings, Inc.: Director since 2006. Serves on the Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
  • Janus Capital Group, Inc.: Trustee for investment funds advised by the firm.
  • Wrapports: This company owns the Chicago Sun-Times among other papers; Wolf is a founding board member.

Political contributions

Wolf has given $8,300 in federal elections since 2000; the biggest contributions went to fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama.

Community connections

 


[1] Based on reported ownership of 28,545 shares as of April 1, 2013 and WMT’s adjusted closing price of $77.20 per share on July 17, 2013.

Legal Notice: National Labor Relations Board notice regarding settlement in 16-CB-105773. Read notice here,.(Un aviso de Junta Nacional de Relaciones del Trabajo en 16-CB-105773. Lee aviso aqui). UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Walmart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Walmart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Walmart publicly commit to adhere to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of its employees. Courts have enjoined non-Associate UFCW and OUR Walmart agents from entering any Walmart property, except to shop, in Arkansas (read order), Florida (read order), Texas (read order), Colorado (read order), Ohio (read order), and Maryland (read order); and in California from entering inside stores (read order).