The senior management team will take on Coughlin’s responsibilities, which include the Wal-Mart stores, Walmart.com, logistics, real estate, store planning, global procurement and the company’s Diversity Office. Each business or division under his management will be transferred to other board members.
Coughlin will serve his remaining term on the Wal-Mart board until the company’s annual shareholder meeting in June 2005.
He joined Wal-Mart’s security division in 1978 and, after holding various senior posts, was named vice chairman in 2003.
Coughlin said: “It is tough to leave Wal-Mart, but we have the people in place who are ready to step up and perform at the highest level. As the management team continues to develop, I’m confident they will be better than I ever thought about being.
“Speaking personally and for the business, it is simply the right time for me to move on.”