Strong performance of the fresh department at Sam’s Club and exceptional leadership earned SVP Shawn Baldwin the highest honor Walmart can bestow on one of its employees.
Baldwin was named the Sam M. Walton Entrepreneur of the Year last Friday during a presentation at Walmart’s annual shareholders’ meeting. He was recognized for his efforts to grow the Sam’s Club fresh business and exemplary leadership in a variety of areas. He was presented with the award by Jim and Alice Walton, who along with Walmart chairman Rob Walton, are the surviving siblings of Walmart founder Sam Walton.
“He exemplifies all of the qualities of a great servant leader and merchant,” said Jim Walton, a Walmart board member.
Alice Walton added, that Baldwin is a great team leader who is driving great results and, “Our dad would be proud.”
Baldwin has been instrumental in elevating and improving the quality of Sam’s fresh business, which has been a key driver of Sam’s accelerating same-store sales momentum for the past several years. In addition to the direct sales contribution from the fresh categories Baldwin oversees, the upgraded offering has benefited members’ perceptions of the Sam’s club value proposition and played a role in improved renewal rates.
Baldwin began his career with Sam’s 20 years ago as an hourly employee in Springfield, Mo., and in accepting the award displayed the type of humility that was a factor in his receiving the recognition.
“The first thing I would say is I’ve got a lot of people to thank,” Baldwin said referring to those he works with at Sam’s.
And in a bit of self deprecating humor noted when his wife is asked what he does she tends to say, “I do something with produce at Sam’s.”