David Glass, who replaced founder Sam Walton as CEO of Walmart in 1988 and shepherded the company through a time of growth and expansion into the grocery business, has passed away. He was 84, and had been suffering from pneumonia.
The Wall Street Journal writes that "during his 12 years as CEO, annual sales soared to $165 billion from $16 billion as Walmart built supercenters, combining groceries with general merchandise, and expanded international operations and the Sam’s Club chain.
"When Mr. Glass became CEO, Walmart was the third-largest U.S. retailer after Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Kmart Corp. Within a few years it surged past both."
Glass joined Walmart as CFO in 1976, personally recruited by Walton. After succeeding him, Glass "stayed out of the spotlight and for years worked at a desk said to have been bought for $75 at a garage sale. When he had visitors at the office, he was known for fetching their coffee down the hall at a vending machine rather than asking an underling to serve beverages."
After retirement, Glass satisfied a longtime passion for baseball by buying the Kansas City Royals for $96 million in 2000. In 2015, the Royals won the World Series. Glass sold the team last year for $1 billion.