Rob Walton, the 70-year-old chairman of Walmart, has been succeeded by his son-in-law Greg Penner, who is married to Walton’s daughter, Carrie.
Penner, 45, joined the board of Walmart, the world’s largest retailer and the owner of Asda, in 2008. He was named as chairman on Friday. He is experienced in technology and ecommerce and it is expected that he will improve the online aspects of the US company’s business.
The move has been criticised by those who want more accountability at Walmart. The Walton family controls more than half of the company’s shares.
Rob is the son of Sam Walton, who opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962. Sam died aged 74 in 1992 and Rob became the company’s second chairman.
Walmart operates 11,400 retail units in 27 countries and runs transactional websites in 11 of them. It employs 2.2m staff, including 1.3 in the US. Its global sales hit $482.2bn (£315.8bn) for the year to January 31 2015. In comparison, Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, has global sales of around £63.6bn.