June 2, 2012 in Business

Wal-Mart CEO affirms compliance, integrity

Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO Mike Duke said Friday that the retailer is committed to integrity in the wake of recent bribery allegations in Mexico.

Duke joined Chairman Robson Walton, the son of founder Sam Walton, at the company’s annual meeting Friday in pledging that Wal-Mart will get to the bottom of the allegations.

This comes after the world’s largest retailer said in recent weeks that it is overhauling its compliance program and expanding its internal investigation into the accusations to other countries.

“Let me be clear: Wal-Mart is committed to compliance and integrity everywhere we operate,” Duke said to a crowd of about 14,000.

Executives of the world’s largest retailer, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, spent much of the meeting reassuring shareholders that the company will be able to retain its integrity as it continues to expand globally.

The meeting follows a story by the New York Times in April that the world’s largest retailer allegedly failed to notify law enforcement after finding evidence that officials authorized millions of dollars in bribes in Mexico to get speedier building permits and other favors.

Following the allegations, it has been reported that federal authorities in the U.S. and Mexico are investigating Wal-Mart for potential violations. Investors are suing top executives. And some shareholders are calling for the removal of several board members.

Wal-Mart disclosed in a regulatory filing late Friday that several executives including Duke, Scott and Walton are the target of 11 “derivative” lawsuits, a type of legal action that seeks to change corporate governance. The lawsuits charge that the executives neglected their responsibilities in handling the alleged bribery scandal. Preliminary results from Friday show that all directors up for re-election were re-elected, although final results will be announced Monday.

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