retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that "Wal-Mart Stores Inc shareholders will vote in June at the company's annual meeting on electing an independent board chairman, after U.S. regulators rejected a request by the retailer to block the proposal.

"Efforts the past two years were unsuccessful to unseat current board Chairman Rob Walton, scion of the billionaire family that founded the world's largest retailer. Because the Walton family controls more than 50 percent of the retailer's shares, outside proposals generally have little chance of passing. Wal-Mart had argued that the proposal, submitted by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters General Fund, should be omitted because it was vague in its standard of independence."

The story goes on: "The Teamsters fund has argued that a chairman without ties to the Walton family and who was independent of management would help improve oversight. It cited ongoing investigations into allegations of bribery in Mexico among the issues that illustrated the need for change."

• The New York Times reports that Walmart has agreed to settle litigation brought against it by the children of comedian James McNair for $10 million.

McNair was killed last year when the van in which he was traveling with comedian Tracy Morgan was hit by a Walmart truck on the New Jersey Turnpike. The story says that "Mr. Morgan and two others injured in the crash also have sued Walmart. The truck driver, Kevin Roper, has been charged with death by auto and other offenses in New Jersey state court but has not yet been indicted, a spokesman for the Middlesex County, N.J., prosecutor’s office said."

The settlement had previously been reported, but no figure had been disclosed.

Morgan, who reportedly is suffering from brain injuries making it impossible for him to perform, also has sued Walmart, but that case has not yet been resolved.
KC's View:
I still think that the Morgan case has the potential of shining a light on a lot of bad practices when it comes to trucking in America. Which could be very instructive.