Meet Rob Walton, the Walmart heir worth $79.8 billion who's retiring from the company's board after more than 40 years

Rob Walton smiles while standing onstage in front of Walmart logo at shareholder meeting
Rob Walton is retiring from Walmart's board of directors.Danny Johnston/AP
  • Rob Walton, the eldest of Walmart founder Sam Walton's children, is retiring after more than 40 years on the company's board.

  • With a net worth of $79.8 billion, he's among the 20 richest people in the world.

  • Here's a look at the billionaire Walmart heir's life and career.

Walmart billionaire Rob Walton is stepping down from the board of his family's company.

Walmart announced on Thursday that Walton, the eldest son of founder Sam Walton, will retire after more than 40 years on the board as its longest-serving member. He joined Walmart in 1969 and will step down at the end of his current term in June, the company said.

With a net worth of $79.8 billion, Walton is among the 20 richest people in the world. The 79-year-old used to practice law, collects vintage cars, and is the wealthiest NFL owner after his record-breaking purchase of the Denver Broncos in 2022.

Here's what we know about Walton as he prepares for retirement:

Rob Walton — whose full name is Samuel Robson Walton — is the eldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, who opened the original Walmart store in 1962.

Sam Walton gestures and looks off camera while wearing Walmart nametag
Sam Walton, seen here, opened the first Walmart in Arkansas.Danny Johnston/AP

Source: Business Insider

Sam Walton made specific plans for the future of the company before he died in 1992. He created a family partnership for his share of Walmart stock, which minimized the estate taxes on his will's beneficiaries. As a result, Rob and his three siblings were each granted 20%, while Sam and his wife, Helen, each held 10%.

Jim Walton, Alice Walton, and Robson Walton stand on stage during Walmart event
From left, Jim Walton, Alice Walton, and Rob Walton are pictured here.April Brown/AP

Source: Business Insider

John, the second-oldest Walton sibling, died in a plane crash in 2005 and left his wealth to charity and to his wife, Christy, and son, Lukas. The other three Walton siblings — Rob, Jim, and Alice — have become some of the wealthiest people in the US. Today, Rob Walton is worth $79.8 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Jim, Alice, and Rob Walton cheer during Walmart shareholder meeting
Jim Walton, Alice Walton, and Rob Walton are some of the world's wealthiest people.Rick Wilking/Reuters

Source: Business Insider, Bloomberg

Rob Walton played football in high school — he was all-state his senior year — and spent two years at the College of Wooster in Ohio before transferring to University of Arkansas, where he majored in accounting. He graduated in 1966 and then moved to New York City to attend Columbia Law School.

Jim Walton, John Walton, Rob Walton, and Helen Walton clapping at a banquet
Jim Walton, John T. Walton, Rob Walton, and Helen Walton, seen here attending a banquet in 1997.Spencer Tirey/AP

Source: Fortune

After getting his degree, Walton practiced law at a firm in Tulsa. One of the firm's clients was his dad's company, and Walton helped out when Walmart went public in 1970. But by 1978, Walton was ready to rejoin the family business, so he moved back to Arkansas.

Rob Walton gestures onstage in front of blue Walmart logo
Rob Walton used to practice law.Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Source: Fortune

Walton joined Walmart in 1969. Over the years, he's held positions including senior vice president, corporate secretary, general counsel, and vice chairman.

Rob Walton holds notepad standing in front of Walmart logo onstage
Rob Walton joined Walmart in 1969 and its board in 1978.Danny Johnston/AP

He became a member of Walmart's board in 1978, according to the company.

He focused on real estate and expansion, pushing his dad to grow internationally.

"Rob has no interest in discussions about whether the Clorox should be on the third shelf. But with real estate and legal and those sorts of areas, his knowledge base and his ability to drill down is remarkable. He also has a photographic memory," former Walmart CEO Lee Scott told Fortune in 2004.


In 1992, his father died at the age of 74 from cancer. The next day, Walton was named chairman of Walmart's board, a position he held until 2015.

Rob Walton Walmart
Rob Walton was chairman of Walmart's board from 1992 until 2015.Rick T. Wilking / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

Walton has been married three times. His daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, is a board member at the Walton Family Foundation, where she focuses on childhood education; her husband, Greg Penner, serves as Walmart's chair.

Greg Penner, Doug McMillon, Rob Walton sit together during Walmart event
From left, Greg Penner, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, and Rob Walton are pictured here.Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Walton Family Foundation

While Walton isn't as flashy as other billionaires, he has made some major acquisitions, including a home in Paradise Valley, Arizona; land on Hawaii's Big Island; and a piece of land near Aspen, Colorado, which he has since sold for $30.8 million.

Rob Walton standing amid cheering Walmart employees wearing red shirts
Rob Walton poses with Walmart e-commerce employees at the company's annual shareholders meeting.Rick Wilking/Reuters

Source: Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, Pacific Business News

He also collects vintage cars, and once wrecked his Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe, estimated to be worth $15 million, on a race track.

Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe parked on street in New York City as yellow cab drives by
Rob Walton owned a Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe.EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

In June 2022, Walton made his biggest purchase to date: the Denver Broncos, an NFL team that had been mired in a messy ownership battle for several years.

Denver Broncos fans
Walton led a group in a record-breaking $4.65 billion purchase of the Denver Broncos.Getty Images

The new ownership group — which includes Walton, his daughter Carrie Walton Penner, son-in-law and Walmart Chairman Greg Penner, and Ariel Investments co-CEO Mellody Hobson — paid $4.65 billion for the franchise, more than double the price of any other NFL team at the time.

"Having lived and worked in Colorado, we've always admired the Broncos," Walton said in a statement at the time. "Carrie, Greg and I are inspired by the opportunity to steward this great organization in a vibrant community full of opportunity and passionate fans."

The sale broke a record for the most-expensive professional sports team sale in North America at the time. It has since been broken by a $6.1 billion sale of the Washington Commanders.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Denver Broncos

Now, Walton is preparing for retirement.

Rob Walton, former Walmart chairman, looks into distance during Walmart meeting
Rob Walton has been a member of Walmart's board for more than four decades.Rick Wilking/Reuters

Walmart announced in April 2024 that Walton is stepping down from the company's board after more than 40 years.

The longest-serving member of Walmart's board, he'll retire when his current term is up on June 5, 2024.

"His leadership has been critical as we've grown our business over so many years. There's no doubt Sam would be very proud. On behalf of our associates and the Board, I'd like to thank him for his unparalleled and amazing service," Greg Penner, his son-in-law and Walmart's chair, said in a statement.

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