Walmart Makes Annual Meeting Online-Only

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Walmart Inc. of Bentonville said Friday that it would not hold its annual employee celebration event, which typically attracts thousands of employees from all over the world to Fayetteville, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The retailer also said its annual shareholders’ meeting, set for June 3, will be conducted by a virtual meeting only.

“While shareholders will be able to attend the meeting online, there will not be a physical location for the annual meeting,” the retailer said in a news release.

Walmart said the meeting will allow shareholders to vote on formal business and proxy proposals. Shareholders will be able to vote their shares electronically, online, by mail or by phone before the formal business meeting on June 3. Shareholders entitled to vote at the meeting may also vote their shares online during the meeting, the company said.

The public will be able to listen to meeting through a link on the company’s website.

The annual event, which attracts Walmart, Sam’s Club and international employees from all over the world, is the latest casualty of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which had led to countless event and meeting cancellations.

The shareholders’ meeting is part of a week of events that usually take place around the first week of June. It all culminates with a Friday morning celebration that fills Bud Walton Arena on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville. Celebrities often take the stage alongside key Walmart executives, including President and CEO Doug McMillon.

“The logistics and lead time required to coordinate 5,000 associates traveling from around the world to attend both the Friday meeting and corresponding Associates Week events has created too much uncertainty to ensure everyone’s safety given the current state of the coronavirus pandemic,” Walmart said in a statement.