Sam Walton began his retail career in 1950 by opening a 5&10 in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas. Following his success and his desire to bring greater value to his customers, he opened the first Walmart store in 1962. Sam Walton died at the age of 74, leaving the business to his wife and four children. In total, the Walton family currently owns almost half of the company, now operating as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT).
Jim C. Walton
Sam Walton's youngest living son, Jim, is ranked the number-one owner of direct shares in the company, with a total of 10.5 million shares as of July 2018. Jim joined Walmart in 1972, working in the real estate division. He became president of Walton Enterprises in 1975. In April 2016, he retired from Walmart's board of directors.
Jim is the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Arvest Bank, which operates community banking locations in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. He also serves as chairman of Community Publishers, a newspaper and Internet publisher.
Alice L. Walton
Sam Walton's only daughter, Alice, is ranked the second-highest owner of direct shares in the company, with 6.7 million shares as of July 2018. Alice began her career in finance working at First Commerce Corporation and Arvest Bank, and then founded an unsuccessful investment bank, the Llama Company, in 1988. Alice may be best remembered for her work in securing the Walton Family Foundation's support for the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.
S. Robson Walton
Sam Walton's oldest living son, S. Robson, is ranked the third-highest owner of direct shares in the company, with a total of 3.34 million shares as of July 2018. After graduating from the Columbia University School of Law in 1969, S. Robson joined the law firm Conner & Winters, which would later represent Walmart. In 1978, he left the law firm to serve as the senior vice president of Walmart. Two days after his father's death in 1992, he was named the chairman of the board of directors at Walmart and held the position until 2015.
Marc Lore is the fourth-largest individual shareholder of Walmart, with 3.3 million shares as of July 2018. He is the president and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce, a role he assumed in 2016 after Jet.com was acquired by Walmart. Lore founded and served as CEO of Jet.com. He is a graduate of Bucknell University.
Walton Enterprises LLC is the Walton family business that manages its massive fortune. As of the last proxy filing on April 6, 2018, the enterprise managed more than 1.4 billion shares of Walmart stock for the Walton family. In 1953, Sam Walton started arranging his finances to avoid a possible estate tax. He divided up his stake in the family business, gave 20% to each of his four children, and kept the remaining 20% for himself and his wife.
This strategy split up the assets of the Walton family before they had a chance to appreciate in value, saving the family an untold sum of money. Walton Enterprises' primary goal is to interpret the tax code as favorably as possible so that the Walton family – and their future heirs – can keep as much of their fortune as possible.