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Greg Penner succeeds Rob Walton as Wal-Mart Stores chairman

BY Michael Johnsen

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores on Friday announced the election of Greg Penner, who previously served as the board’s vice chairman, to the position of board chairman, effective at the end of today’s shareholders meeting. Penner takes over from Rob Walton, 70, who served as chairman of the board since 1992 and will continue to serve as a director.
 
“This transition demonstrates Walmart’s commitment to long-term succession planning and keeping high-caliber, capable leaders at the head of our company,” said Walton. “Greg’s service to Walmart spans more than 15 years, and during that time he has had a significant impact, both as an associate and as a board member the past seven years. Greg has done an outstanding job as our vice chairman over the past year, and he has provided strong leadership and guidance as the chairman of our technology and e-commerce committee since it was formed in 2011. He brings an ideal blend of finance, technology and international business expertise — as well as a deep knowledge and love of Walmart — to this role.”
 
“It would be impossible to overstate Rob Walton’s impact on Walmart and how personally committed he has been over the years,” Penner said. “I’m deeply honored to follow in his footsteps and recognize the deep responsibility I have to our associates, all shareholders and the Board. I’ve admired this company since my first Saturday morning meeting more than two decades ago. I believe in its mission and the positive role it plays throughout the world. I am excited about continuing to work with our outstanding senior management team and talented Walmart associates at all levels of the company.”
 
Penner, 45, began his career at Goldman Sachs as an analyst specializing in corporate finance. He then joined Walmart as a management trainee and held a number of positions throughout the company, including SVP finance and strategy for Walmart.com and SVP and CFO, Japan. Since 2005, he has been a general partner of investment management firm Madrone Capital Partners. Penner joined the Walmart board of directors in 2008. He has served as chair of the technology and e-commerce committee and held positions on the Global Compensation and Strategic Planning and Finance Committees. He is the son-in-law of Rob Walton.
 
In addition to the board’s leadership changes, the company is also realigning the composition of its board committees so that most of the independent directors will serve on at least two board committees. This includes the company’s governance committees (the Audit Committee and the Compensation, Nominating and Governance Committee) and strategy committees (the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee and the Technology and eCommerce Committee). 
 
“These changes reinforce our commitment to exclusively independent directors on our governance committees, and increases the number of independent members on our strategy committees, which have a majority of independent directors,” said James Cash, Jr., lead independent director, board of directors. “This adjustment is consistent with Walmart’s approach to continuous improvement of our Board practices and sound corporate governance.”
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WSJ looks at growing field of chronobiology

BY David Salazar

Your circadian rhythm is turning out to be more important than you might have thought. The Wall Street Journal’s Melinda Beck recently wrote about chronobiology, the emerging study of the body’s internal rhythms that regulate cognitive abilities, your mood on a given day, and various other functions. 
 
Among some of the findings that scientists looking into chronobiology have reported are the typical timings of common health issues. For instance, Beck points to a study that found tourists who have heart attacks in Hawaii tended to have them at a time their body knows as early morning, regardless of local time. Like heart attacks, strokes usually take place in the morning, potentially the result of increased production PAI-1, which aids in blood clotting. 
 
Another study conducted by the Medical Chronobiology Program at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that health issues can occur when the body’s rhythms and behavior don’t correspond. Rats who ate when they typically sleep ended up gaining more weight than those who were fed at normal times. Beck highlights that shift workers whose circadian rhythm don’t correspond with their daily activities will have similar issues—she points to higher obesity, stroke, and other rates among shift workers. Those with mental health issues like bipolar disorder might even be able to point do dysfunction in genes that regulate the body’s internal clock. 
 
A new field—chronotherapy—is emerging as a way to combat the difficulties faced by those whose circadian rhythms and daily activities are out of sync. Though clinical trials still need to be conducted, some solutions might be as easy as taking an acid blocker at night, when stomach acid production increases. All of these, though, are just management, as the best solution seems to be settling into a routine of sleeping, eating and waking at the same time every day. 
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Amazon has top reputation in retail in 2015

BY Dan Berthiaume

For the third year in a row, Amazon has claimed the top spot in the Reputation Institute’s annual survey of America’s 50 most reputable companies in the retail industry.

Amazon is the only company of all the retail companies surveyed to achieve an excellent reputation.

Supermarket chains moved up in the ranking this year, with Publix ranking second and Whole Foods jumping five spots to third place in 2015.

America’s top 10 companies in the retail industry in 2015 are:

  1. Amazon.com
  2. Publix Super Markets Inc.
  3. Whole Foods
  4. Tiffany & Co.
  5. Costco Wholesale
  6. Lowe’s Home Improvement
  7. Home Depot
  8. Ace Hardware
  9. Cabela’s
  10. Ahold

In 2015, four new companies made the top 10 in retail: Tiffany & Co., Ace Hardware, Cabela’s and Ahold.

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