Family: Oldest child of Sam and Helen Walton. Wife Melani Walton, married 2005. (Previously married to Patricia Rawlings Walton, divorced in late 1970s, and Carolyn Funk Walton, divorced in 2000.) Three children: Carrie Walton Penner, Ben, and Sam.
Age: 69 (born October 1944)
Residence: Paradise Valley, AZ
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 Rob Walton for him to listen to their concerns. Mr. Walton has repeatedly ignored these requests. (See here for a detailed list of efforts by Walmart associates to initiate a dialogue with Rob Walton.)
Shareholders voicing concerns about Walton’s leadership at Walmart
Walmart shareholders have expressed concern about Walton’s leadership at the company. At Walmart’s 2013 shareholder meeting, more than 25 percent of non-Walton family shareholders voted against re-electing Rob Walton as chairman of the company’s Board of Directors. Those voting no included the New York City Pension Funds and CalSTRS, both of which also voted against Walton in 2012, and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. Proxy adviser ISS recommended voting against Walton’s re-election, and CalPERS, the nation’s largest pension fund, withheld its vote “due to concerns surrounding the Board’s oversight of operational and reputational risk.”
In addition, 36 percent of non-Walton family shareholders supported a shareholder resolution calling for the chair of Walmart’s Board of Directors to be an independent director. Rob Walton succeeded his father as chairman of the company following Sam Walton’s death in 1992.
Estimated net worth: $34.2 billion (as of March 2014)
- Walton has direct or shared ownership of 49% of outstanding Walmart shares, nearly all of which is through his interest in Walton Enterprises, the family holding company he manages with his siblings Alice, Jim, and John (John’s estate). Walton is also on the company’s payroll: According to the company’s April 2013 proxy statement, Walton’s annual salary as chairman of the board is $235,000; the company also paid health insurance premiums and 401(k) contributions for him.
- Madrone Capital Partners is an investment firm “affiliated with S. Robson Walton and other family members,” managed by Rob Walton’s son-in-law Greg Penner. Madrone’s investments include a $1 billion investment in the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, a $33 million investment in the failed search engine Cuil, and a stake in the bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra, which was raided by the FBI in September 2011.
- Walton shares 96% ownership of the family’s Arvest Bank (Jim Walton, CEO) with Jim Walton and John Walton’s estate; as of March 2013, the bank’s assets totaled approximately $14.3 billion.
Walton has been known to fly a Falcon jet that he pilots himself. He also races vintage sports cars. As of 2004, he owned a 1970 Lotus, a Cobra, and a Scarab, and, along with one of his sons, participated in the Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Walton reportedly commissioned a custom gold Ferrari in 2009.
Educational and professional background
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Walton began working for his father’s company in 1969 and has held roles as senior vice president, secretary and general counsel, and vice chairman. He has been a member of the Walmart board since 1978 and was named chairman of the Walmart board the day after his father’s death in April 1992. He currently serves on the Executive Committee and the Global Compensation Committee of the board.
Walton encouraged his father to expand Walmart internationally. He is also the only one of his siblings to hold a senior executive role in the company. In a 2004 Fortune magazine profile of the Walton family, then-CEO Lee Scott said that Walton is not particularly drawn to the merchandising-related aspects of the company and is more interested in the real estate and legal sides of Walmart.
Connor & Winters, Tulsa, OK
During Walton’s short tenure at Connor & Winters, Walmart was his client. He was involved in the creation of Walton Enterprises and in Walmart’s 1970 IPO.
Since the 2004 federal election cycle began, Rob Walton has given nearly $217,000 in federal political contributions. Of that total, about 10 percent went to Wal-Mart Stores or Arvest Bank Group; of the remaining amount, 88% went to Republicans.
Examples of state-level giving
- California: In 2005, Arizona resident Rob Walton donated $250,000 to “Yes on 77,” a group formed in support of California’s Proposition 77. Had it not been defeated by California voters, Proposition 77 would have given authority to redraw congressional and legislative districts to three retired judges, shifting that power from the Democrat-controlled General Assembly and strengthening the Republican governor’s hand.
- Walton Family Foundation: Board of Directors
- Conservation International
- Board of Directors and Chairman of the Executive Committee
- Executive Council, Center for Environmental Leadership in Business. Walmart CEO Mike Duke is also a member of the Executive Council.
- Walmart is listed as a Corporate Partner of CI. The Walton Family Foundation is also a major donor to CI, and gave more than $22.7 million to the organization in 2012.
- Arizona State University Global Institute of Sustainability: Co-Chair, Board of Trustees for Sustainability
- College of Wooster: Emeritus Life Trustee, 2001–present ; Board of Trustees, 1986-2001
- Dickinson State University (Dickinson, ND): The Walton Family Foundation gave DSU a $1 million donation in 2008 at the recommendation of Rob and Melani Walton. Melani Walton graduated from DSU.
- EFW Partners: Advisor
- University of Arkansas: Alum and major donor. In 2002, the Walton family gave the university $300 million, in the largest-ever donation to an American public university.
- Southern Bancorp: In 1986, Walton was one of the founding directors of Southern Bancorp, a community development bank primarily focusing on rural communities. Other founding members included Hillary Clinton, then the First Lady of Arkansas, and Mack McLarty.
- Omicron Delta Kappa: Distinguished Alumni, Leader in Business