Wal-Mart exec Tom Coughlin to retire

Monday, December 6th 2004, 9:48 am
By: News On 6

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) _Wal-Mart Stores Inc. vice chairman Tom Coughlin, whose responsibilities include overseeing Wal-Mart and Sam's Club warehouse stores, is retiring as an employee of the world's largest retailing company in January, the company announced Monday.

Coughlin, 55, who has been with Wal-Mart for more than 25 years, will leave Jan. 24, the company said. His term on the Wal-Mart board runs through June 2005. He has been vice chairman and a board member since April 2003.

Wal-Mart has seen disappointing sales since the day after Thanksgiving, but company spokesman Jay Allen said the results had not bearing on Coughlin's departure.

``There is absolutely no connection at all,'' Allen said. ``It is important to us that he is staying with us through the holiday season.''

Allen said Coughlin has trained a team to continue his duties.

``Tom has worked in so many different areas of retail that he understands the business and has developed a talent for breaking challenging retail issues into simple solutions,'' Wal-Mart president and chief executive Lee Scott said.

Coughlin joined Wal-Mart in 1978 in the company's security division. Coughlin was hospitalized in late 2003 for 10 days for treatment for an arterial blockage.

In a statement, Coughlin said, ``It is simply the right time for me to move on.''

The company did not name a replacement, instead saying that Wal-Mart's senior management team will take on Coughlin's duties.

Allen said Coughlin plans to spend time traveling with his family and hunting. He said Coughlin has some business interests, as well.