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H. Lee Scott

Former President and CEO of Walmart; Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors at Walmart
  • Increased profits by 249% as CEO of Walmart and expanded sales to 16 countries
  • Currently a senior advisor of Solamere Capital and the chairman of the business advisory board for BDT Capital
  • Addresses topics such as leadership, corporate culture, innovation, supply chain management, and social responsibility
Topics & Types
International BusinessLeadershipRetailBusiness Leaders From Major BrandsCEOs

Lee Scott served as Walmart’s president and CEO from 2000–2009, the company’s third, following Sam Walton and David Glass. He is widely credited with reinvigorating Walmart’s mission and transforming it into a respected corporate leader on many of the major issues facing today’s increasingly complex world. During his tenure, the company emerged as the world’s largest retailer with more than 2.1 million associates and 7,390 retail operations in 16 markets around the world. The company earned the Fortune No. 1 spot six times between 1998 and 2008 and had sales of more than $405 billion in 2009. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities, Inc. speakers bureau, Scott addresses leadership, corporate culture, global business, innovation, supply chain management, sustainability, and social responsibility.

A Walmart Career. Scott joined Walmart in 1979 as an assistant director of the private truck fleet in the logistics division, rising through the ranks to executive vice president of logistics in 1993 and executive vice president of merchandise in 1995. He became president and chief executive officer of the Walmart U.S. division in 1998, chief operating officer and vice chairman for the corporation in 1999, and president and chief executive officer in 2000.

During Lee’s time as president and CEO, he oversaw a 243% percent increase in Walmart’s global sales, from $165 billion to $401 billion, and a 277% percent increase in earnings, from $1.21 per share to $3.35 per share. He expanded Walmart’s operations from 10 to 16 countries, including India, Japan, and Chile. Profits also rose 249% percent to over $13 billion. During his last year as CEO, Walmart was the best performing stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Maintaining Walmart’s Values. Building on the foundation of values Sam Walton put in place, Scott made people a priority. Under his leadership, Walmart assembled a strong team of leaders who transformed the business to thrive in a more complex global environment while keeping the company’s mission of “saving people money so they can live better” relevant to a changing world.

Walmart is now recognized as a vital part of the solution to the most pressing economic and social challenges, like healthcare costs, employee benefits, and social and environmental responsibility. Walmart emerged as a leader in sustainable practices, leveraging its global reach in the key areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste, and sustainability. The company also worked to bring healthcare costs down with its$4 generic prescription program and set aggressive goals to work with suppliers in building a more responsible global supply chain. Today, 93 percent of Walmart’s direct sourcing merchandize is produced in top-rated factories.

Before and After Walmart. A native of Baxter Springs, Kansas, Scott received his bachelors of science degree in business from Pittsburg State in Pittsburg, Kansas, and in 1995, he was named an Outstanding Alumni by the university. He has also completed the executive development programs at Penn State University and Columbia University. He is currently a senior advisor and advisory board member of Solamere Capital and the chairman of the business advisory board for BDT Capital.

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