Walmart shareholders from around the world packed Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville Friday morning (June 7) for their annual meeting.
This year’s special guest host was Tony Award-winning actor Hugh Jackman.
He opened the meeting by singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from Oklahoma and later serenaded the crowd with “Who I Am” from the Broadway hit Les Miserables.
Other celebrities included actor Tom Cruise, former American Idol Kelly Clarkson, and R&B singers John Legend and Jennifer Hudson.
Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke, head of U.S. stores Bill Simon, CEO of International Stores Doug McMillon and other Walmart and Sam’s Club executives were also on hand to give an update on the retailer’s financial outlook, hiring plans, charitable efforts, sustainability projects.
“Over these past two years Walmart has delivered to shareholders, our best overall return in stock performances and dividends in more than a decade,” Duke said.
Two hourly workers were called to the stage and promoted to management positions by Simon during the meeting.
“We added $9.3 billion in sales and $512 million in operating income in one year,” McMillion said.
Simon said there were plans for at least 500 promotions at Walmart stores Friday alone.
“None of this success would be possible without the heart and hard work of our associates,” Duke said.
Cruise spoke about the company’s “Live Better” and “Empowering Women Together” initiatives, which include buying and selling products from women-owned small businesses.
“You know what this company does is using it size and scale to improve women`s lives across the world,” Cruise said.
Singer Jennifer Hudson closed the meeting by singing some of her latest hits including, “Spotlight.”
About 14,000 people attended the annual event this year.