David Glass, who served as president and CEO of Walmart Inc. from 1988 to 2000, died January 9, according to the Glass family. He was 84.
Most recently, Glass was owner and CEO of the Kansas City Royals. Glass and his family sold the Royals late last year.
In 1976, Glass was recruited by Walmart founder Sam Walton to become Walmart’s chief financial officer. Glass was named President and CEO of Walmart in 1988 and served in that role for 12 years. During his term in that role, Glass guided the company through a period of growth both in terms of revenues and expansion including retail acquisitions, expansions including new retail formats and significant international expansion.
Glass is said to have led a team of managers who adopted new and innovative technologies to streamline operations and improve customer service. This included the development of automated distribution centers, linked by computers to Walmart headquarters, stores and suppliers, which enabled the company to expand beyond a regional retailer to become an international retail leader.
Rob Walton, former Walmart chairman and eldest son of Sam Walton, said. “When we lost my Dad, David provided a steady, visionary hand the company needed to lead it forward. He did so with a deep sense of humility while maintaining the values and principles Dad founded the company on. More than anyone beyond Sam Walton, David Glass is responsible for making Walmart the company it is today. On behalf of the entire Walton family, I want to express our appreciation for David as a leader and as a friend. He will be deeply missed.”
Glass was honored with numerous retail and business awards over the years, including being named “most admired CEO” in 1993 by Fortune Magazine, and inducted into the Retail Hall of Fame in 2000 and into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame.
Doug McMillon, current Walmart President and CEO, added, “Due to his authentic humility, we think David Glass may be the most under-appreciated CEO in the history of business. The choices he made and the results of the company reflect his wisdom, dedication and servant leadership. We will miss him immensely and are eternally grateful.”
Glass and his wife, Ruth, have three children, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.