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Samuel Robson Walton (Rob)

S. Robson Walton is a son Sam Walton, founder of the world largest retailer Wal-Mart. As of December 2015 his networth is $29.8 billion and occupies 13th position in the Forbes 400. He held the position of Chairman of the Wal-Mart Board of Directors from 1992 to 2015. For the time being, his activities are primarily connected with educational and nonprofit organizations.

Background

  • Ethnicity: Both of his parents were of White American ethnic group

  • Samuel Robson Walton was born in 1944 to Helen and Samuel Walton in Tulsa and grew up in Bentonville and Newport, Ark. His father, Samuel Walton, born in 1918 in the dusty community of Kingfisher, Oklahoma, had accumulated the biggest family fortune in America by the time he died in 1992.

    Rob is the eldest child of the Walton family with siblings Alice Walton, Jim Walton and John Walton (died in 2005).

  • Education

    • After completing high school in Tusla, Rob proceeded with his education in College of Wooster, a small liberal arts school in Ohio. The choice of this college his mother explained by its Presbytarian affiliation, which is the Walton's denomination. During his senior year in high school he was an all-state football player, and he went on playing football in College. Recollecting his football pursuits, he jokes, "I was small but slow as a college tackle."

      In two years, he moved to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, situated 25 miles south of Bentonville. He majored in accounting. After graduation in 1966 he went on to Columbia Law School in New York. The reason for him to focus on law studies was his grandfather, as 'he was kind of my role model".

    Career

    • In childhood Rob was not out of work, he "worked in Dad's stores moving boxes - I remember quite well one stockroom that was upstairs - sweeping floors, laying tile. I also had paper routes."

      After graduation from Columbia Law School he did not immediately switch to Was-Mart. Instead he took a job with Tulsa law firm Conner & Winters. He picked Tulsa for several reasons, majorly because of this city being the closest to Bentonville, furthermore, it gave him "breathing room from his family". As a part of his job there Rob helped organize his family's ownership in the business into Walton Enterprises, and he did legal work for Wal-Mart's IPO in October 1970.

      But his father wanted him to come back to Bentonvile, and in 1978 Rob returned home.

      Sam appointed his son as senior vice president and company secretary, and later in 1982 as vice chairman, and put him on the board. He told Rob that there wasn't enough work to do for a lawyer at Wal-Mart, "so he just dumped some more stuff on his desk, starting with real estate.", as David Glass, the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Wal-Mart, recollects.

      After the death of Sam Walton in 1992, Rob succeeded him as Chairman of the Board of directors and held this position until 2015.

      At present he is occupied with a number of nonprofit and educational organizations, including Conservation International, where he serves as chairman of the executive committee, and the College of Wooster, where he is an Emeritus Life Trustee.

      Thus, Rob Walton dedicated his almost entire career Wal-Mart becoming one of the world's largest retail chain in the world, and the world's largest company by revenue.

    Major achievements

    • Having transferred back to Bentonville in 1978 and having become a part of Wal-Mart family, it was Rob who urged his father to expand into other countries in the mid-1980s.

      In 2015 Forbes ranked him 12th richest billionaire in the world and 9th in the United States with a net worth of 29.8 billion dollars.

    Politics

    Interestingly, but studies suggest that the Waltons largely favour Republican Party, supporting this party candidates with millions of dollars. The thing is that they contribute to the party policies of which generally contradict to the Wal-Marts support for progressive policies and initiatives. These include areas such as gun control, environment, marriage equality and LGBT rights, minimum wage, immigration, women and civil rights.

    Since the 2004 federal election cycle began, Rob Walton has given nearly $217,000 in federal political contributions. Of that total, about 10 percent went to Wal-Mart Stores or Arvest Bank Group; of the remaining amount, 88% went to Republicans.

    In 2005, Arizona resident Rob Walton donated $250,000 to “Yes on 77,” a group formed in support of California’s Proposition 77. Had it not been defeated by California voters, Proposition 77 would have given authority to redraw congressional and legislative districts to three retired judges, shifting that power from the Democrat-controlled General Assembly and strengthening the Republican governor’s hand.

    Party affiliation: Republican Party

    Religion

    The Waltons are often criticized for lacking any religious or moral values, and characterized as not pursuing any religious practice. What is more they are reluctant to donate money in charities and churches.

    Denomination: Presbyterian

    Views

    As was previously pointed out, the Waltons maintain low profile, and Rob is not an exception.

    There is one peculiar thing about his office in Wal-Mart headquarters, it is about the size of a large supply closet. "Ten feet by ten feet and with no windows". His office is smaller than others' in Wal-Mart for two reasons. Firstly, it implies that even the son of Sam Walton shouldn't get preferential treatment. Secondly, he is not in the office that much, while he has other passions.

    He has been known to carry a little notebook on trips to write down names and take notes. And like his father, Rob asks questions. "Most billionaires I meet tell me what they think," says a Wall Street executive who spent time with him recently. "But Rob was asking me questions - should Wal-Mart increase its dividend or buy back stock?" This is a part of Rob's DNA: "I learned from my Dad that change and experimentation are constants and important. You have to keep trying new things."

    Wal-Mart with Rob being Chairman took lots of heat.

    Members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) and their allies have repeatedly reached out to Rob Walton for him to listen to their concerns. Mr. Walton has repeatedly ignored these requests.

    Quotations: Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, "Rob has no interest in discussions about whether the Clorox should be on the third shelf". "But with real estate and legal and those sorts of areas, his knowledge base and his ability to drill down is remarkable. He also has a photographic memory. He can tell you about a store that we opened in Paducah, Ky., and that it's near a Burger King and three miles from the interstate and why the Kmart has a slightly better location."

    Membership

    • Walton Family Foundation , the United States
      1978 - 2015

    • Conservation International , the United States

      Board of Directors and Chairman of the Executive Committee Executive Council, Center for Environmental Leadership in Business.

    • Arizona State University Global Institute of Sustainability , the United States

      Co-Chair, Board of Trustees for Sustainability

    • College of Wooster , the United States
      2001 - 2015

      Emeritus Life Trustee

    • EFW Partners , the United States

      Advisor

    Personality

    The Waltons are widely-known for living very low-profile lives, therefore it is often hard to find them in press or any signs of their wealth.

    Throughout life Rob was constantly compared with his father Sam. He is considered to be a brilliant person, but unlike his father he is neither the retailing genius nor the firecracker. His strength is that he never denies that fact. In the interview to the Fortune magazine he said, "Me and Dad are just very different people," Rob says. "My strengths are more analytical. I've got a legal background and an accounting background. I really wouldn't feel appropriate comparing myself to him."

    Rob is known for flying the airplane on his own. Lee Scott: "We never fly on the same plane, so if we're going to a meeting out of town we sometimes race to see who can get there first," "Rob's a good pilot, he follows all the rules."

    Apart from it, he is a huge lover of vintage sports cars. Rob Walton’s car collection[vi] reportedly includes a Ferrari 250 GTO (which sell for $35 to $52 Million), a 1965 Shelby Cobra (valued at $820 Thousand), a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM (valued at $14.6 Million), a 1960 Maserati T60, a 1958 Scarab MKI, a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB (valued at up to $4.1 Million), a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa (purchased by Rob for $12.1 Million; one recently sold for $39.8 Million).

    Although his net worth stands at $34.2 Billion, long-time Walmart chairman Rob Walton has not made a single personal contribution to the Walton Family Foundation, according to a report by The Walmart1Percent. The report is based on an analysis of 23 years’ worth of the Foundation’s tax returns.

    His leadership at Wal-Mart was often criticized and vilified because of pseudo-policies concerning issues of environment, working hours and discrimination. Members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) and their allies have continually reached out to Rob Walton for him to listen to their concerns. Mr. Walton has repeatedly took no notice of these requests.

    Physical Characteristics: 1.83 meters tall

    Quotes from others about the person

    Lee Scott: "Can you imagine growing up as Sam Walton's oldest son?" "But I think Rob has it figured out. He celebrates his dad's memory but he doesn't compete with him. Rob does his own thing."

    Interests

    Cycling, hunting , bio-safari, racing

    Connections

    • He has been married three times and has three children. For the first time he married Patricia Rawlings Walton while being in Tulsa but they divorced in the mid 1970s. By the time of divorce they had three children Sam Walton (b. 1968), Carrie Walton Penner (b.1970) and Ben Walton. His next marriage to Carolyn Funk Walton also ended in divorce in 2000. His current wife is Melani Walton whom he married in 2005.
    • Samuel Walton is a founder of Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. He was born in 1918 and produced his biggest child in 1962, Wal-Mart, the world's largest corporation. He died from two types of cancer (hairy-cell leukemia and bone marrow cancer) in 1992.
    • mother: Helen Walton - United States
      Helen Walton was a wife of Samuel Walton since 1943 until the death of Sam. Born in 1919, she became the richest American woman and the eleventh richest in the world. She died in 2007.
    • brother: John Walton - United States
      Born in 1946, he attended College of Wooster, but dropped out of that so that he can play more flute and enrolled in the U.S. Army. John died in plane crash piloting homebuilt aircraft in 2005.
    • brother: Jim Carr Walton
      Jim was born in 1948 and he is the youngest son of the Waltons. In 2015 Forbes listed him as the 9th world's richest billionaire.
    • Sister: Alica Walton - United States
      Alice (b.1949) is the daughter of Samuel Walton, and occupies the 11th place in the list of world's billionaires, but unlike her brother, she has not taken active participation in operating Wal-Mart. Instead she focused on collecting and curating art.
    • Wife: Melani Lowman-Walton - United States
      Current wife (m.2005)
    • Son: Sam Walton - United States
      Sam Walton attended Prescott College in Arizona and currently lives in Aspen, Colo.He is an environmental advocate and sits on the Council of Advisors for National Geographic, as well as the Board of Trustees for the Environmental Defence Fund.
    • Daughter: Carrie Penner Walton - United States
      Carrie Penner received her B.A. from Georgetown and an M.A. from Stanford. She currently lives in Atherton, California and is on the Walton Family Foundation's board of directors.
    • Son: Ben Walton - United States
      Ben Walton is an architect living in Aspen, Colo. He currently serves as a board member for both the Walton Family Foundation and the Denver Children's Advocacy Center.

    References

    Samuel Robson Walton
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    • 1957 - 1961
      Tuslaw High School
    • 1961 - 1963
      The College of Wooster
    • 1963 - 1966
      The University of Arkansas
    • 1966 - 1969
      Columbia University
    • 1970 - 1978
      Attorney, Conner & Winters
      Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
    • 1978 - 1982
      Vice president, Wal-Mart
      Bentonville, Arkansas, United States
    • 1982 - 1992
      Vice chairman, Wal-Mart
      Bentonville, Arkansas, United States
    • 1992 - 2015
      Chairman of the board of directors, Wal-Mart
      Bentonville, Arkansas, United States

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