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Wal-mart CEO to be Honored at OC

Thursday, April 16, 2009   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katy Watson
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The CEO of the largest company in the world will be honored with the Christian Business Leader award by Oklahoma Christian University on April 16. Mike Duke, who became president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Feb. 1, will also speak to OC business students at the School of Business Awards Banquet.

“We knew of Mr. Duke's international work for Wal-Mart and had heard that his faith was something that helped guide him as a leader,” said Phil Lewis, business professor and dean of the college of professional studies. “We wanted to honor him for that work, and it just happened that after he accepted our invitation, he was named CEO.”

Duke was recommended for the award by OC's Vice President for Academic Affairs Allison Garrett. Garrett is well acquainted with Duke, having previously served as vice president at Wal-Mart.

“I was always very impressed by how he integrated his faith with his work; he has been a role model for ethics, humility and care for others,” Garrett said. “He is an incredibly accomplished business leader who is active in his church. No one is more deserving of this award.”

Oklahoma Christian also has a student connection to Duke. His personal assistant, Paula Coil, is the mother of OC's 2007 Outstanding General Business graduate, Stephanie Coil.

Duke will speak during OC's Business Awards Dinner that starts at 6 p.m. in the Gaylord Center on the Oklahoma Christian campus. The dinner is held each year to honor the top students and seniors in each business major. In addition, a business leader is honored for integrating their faith with their professional lives.

“We feel very honored that a person of Mr. Duke's caliber is willing to spend time with our students,” Lewis said. “I think they will be very inspired by his talk.”

Since 2005 Duke has served as vice chairman, leading Wal-Mart International. Under his leadership, the company's international business became a fast growing part of Wal-Mart's overall operations with over 3,500 stores and 680,000 associates in 15 markets outside the continental United States. As a stand-alone business, Wal-Mart International is one of the most successful global retailers, with annual sales of almost $100 billion in 2008.

Duke joined Wal-Mart in 1995. Since then, he has led the Logistics, Distribution and Administration Divisions, as well as U.S. Operations. As vice chairman, Duke was actively involved in developing and executing corporate strategy. He has focused on setting higher standards of excellence for the company's resources and people – from the redesign of logistics and merchandise distribution systems, to the recruitment of talent and development of strong teams.

Prior to joining Wal-Mart, Duke had 23 years of experience in retailing with Federated Department Stores and May Department Stores. He graduated from Georgia Tech University with a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering. Duke serves on the board of directors of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., as well as CIES - The Food Business Forum, and is on the Executive Board of Conservation International's Center for Environment Leadership in Business. He also serves on the University of Arkansas Board of Advisors.


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