Former Walmart Exec David Glass Dies at 84

We were unable to send the article.

David Dayne Glass, who served as president and CEO of Walmart Inc. from 1988 to 2000, died Jan. 9. He was 84.

Glass died of complications associated with pneumonia, according to his family.

Most recently, he was owner and CEO of the Kansas City Royals, a team he helped lead to two consecutive World Series appearances. In 2015, the team brought the World Championship trophy home. 

Glass and his family sold the Royals late last year.

A native of Mountain View, Missouri, he served in the U.S. Army after graduating high school in 1954-56. After leaving the Army, Glass earned a business degree from Southwest Missouri State University, now Missouri State University, in Springfield.

His retail career began in 1960 with Crank Drug Company in Springfield. He left Crank in 1968 after the company was sold and worked for two other companies. Glass served as general manager of Consumer Markets in Springfield. 

In 1976, he was recruited by Walmart Founder Sam Walton to become the global giant’s CFO.

As president and CEO, Glass guided the company through a period of extraordinary revenue growth and expansion.

Specifically, under his leadership, Walmart:

  • Increased annual revenue from $16 billion in the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 1988, to approximately $165 billion in revenue in the fiscal year ending January 31, 2000.

  • Launched Walmart Supercenters and expanded Sam’s Club.

  • Expanded international operations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.

  • Developed automated distribution centers.

Rob Walton, former Walmart chairman and eldest son of Sam Walton, said in a statement, “When we lost my dad, David provided a steady, visionary hand the company needed to lead it forward. He did so with a deep sense of humility while maintaining the values and principles Dad founded the company on. 

“More than anyone beyond Sam Walton, David Glass is responsible for making Walmart the company it is today. On behalf of the entire Walton family, I want to express our appreciation for David as a leader and as a friend. He will be deeply missed.”

Doug McMillon, current Walmart president and CEO, said in a statement, “Due to his authentic humility, we think David Glass may be the most under-appreciated CEO in the history of business. The choices he made and the results of the company reflect his wisdom, dedication and servant leadership. We will miss him immensely and are eternally grateful.”

Glass was honored with numerous awards over the years, including being named “Most Admired CEO” in 1993 by Fortune Magazine. He was inducted into the Retail Hall of Fame in 2000 and into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame.

Glass was appointed interim chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Royals in 1993 upon the death of then owner Ewing Kauffman. He and his family acquired the team in 2000, and that was when he began his second career, at age 64.

Glass was an active member in Major League Baseball and served on key committees within the organization. Glass was the chairman of the board of MLB Advanced Media, a member of Major League Baseball’s Executive Council and a member of MLB Enterprise and Finance Committee.

He was elected to the board of directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2000, where he served as a member of the Pension and Audit Committees.

Glass is survived by his wife, Ruth; three children; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

His family will hold a public “Celebration of Life” in his honor at 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, at the Northwest Arkansas Fellowship Bible Church, 1051 W. Pleasant Grove Road in Rogers.