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Walmart mourns passing of former president Shewmaker

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ROGERS, Ark. — Jack Shewmaker, a former president of Walmart who was key in developing the discount store giant’s everyday low pricing strategy, died this week at age 72.

Jack Shewmaker, a former president of Walmart who was key in developing the discount store giant’s everyday low pricing strategy, died this week at age 72.

The company said Thursday that Shewmaker passed away on Nov. 17.

"Jack Shewmaker had been with Walmart since its earliest days," Walmart president and chief executive officer Mike Duke wrote in an e-mail to associates this week. "He loved this company and gave it his heart as well as his considerable talents. He was a dear personal friend and, though the company will benefit from his contributions for years to come, it is hard to imagine Walmart without Jack."

Shewmaker joined Walmart in 1970 as a district manager — hired by Sam Walton — and was named president and chief operating officer in 1978.

"He was instrumental in developing our everyday low pricing strategy, which defined our company and set new standards in the retail industry for providing customers with consistent, reliable value," Duke stated.

In addition, Shewmaker is credited with being an early advocate of technology, leading the retailer’s adoption of bar code scanning and the launch of satellite communications in 1983. A year later, he was named vice chairman and chief financial officer, where he served until his retirement in 1988. He also was a member of Walmart’s board of directors from 1977 to 2008.

Shewmaker remained active in business, was a prominent local philantrophist and served for several years as the chairman of Students in Free Enterprise Inc. (SIFE) in Springfield, Mo.


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