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• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Gregory B. Penner, “the 38-year-old son-in-law of Wal-Mart Chairman S. Robson Walton, himself a son of company founder Sam Walton,” is expected to join the company’s board of directors – a move that is seen as a kind of changing of the guard and generational shift.

Walton is seen as grooming Penner for a leadership role at the company, according to the Journal: “In 2000, Mr. Penner helped to start, influencing the company's decision to locate its now-booming online unit in Brisbane, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay area, far from Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. Two years later, he moved to Japan, where he was involved in vetting the purchase of Seiyu Ltd., and became its chief financial officer. The Japanese unit, which posted a loss of $216 million last year, has bled red ink since Wal-Mart's initial investment.

“More recently, Mr. Penner has managed Walton family investments through Madrone Capital Partners in Menlo Park, Calif. But he has remained a quiet presence at Wal-Mart, attending board meetings and offering to accompany executives on trips to Asia.”

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