NEW YORK — Joseph Hardin Jr. has resigned as president of Sam’s Clubs, the 475-unit division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., to join Kinko’s, the document-copying chain.
Wal-Mart said Hardin will depart by the middle of this week to become president and chief executive officer of the privately held, 850-unit copying chain based in Ventura, Calif. Hardin could not be reached for comment.
Hardin, 51, had led Sam’s since October 1995 and had held numerous executive positions with Wal-Mart since joining the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer back in 1986. Hardin had been executive vice president and chief operating officer of the core Wal-Mart Stores chain and president and ceo of the McLane Co. division.
“Leaving Wal-Mart and Sam’s Clubs is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make professionally,” Hardin said in a statement.
“This is simply the right decision for my career and for my family at this time,” he continued.
In Wal-Mart’s fiscal year ended Jan. 31, Sam’s operating profits grew 8 percent over prior-year levels to $864 million, on a 4 percent sales gain to $19.8 billion.
During that fiscal year, Wal-Mart opened nine new Sam’s units, closed nine Sam’s stores and relocated another two clubs.
Wal-Mart said Sam’s existing management will run the division until the company names Hardin’s successor.
At Kinko’s, Hardin will succeed Don Gogel, who has been interim president and ceo since Jan. 1.
Gogel is co-president of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a New York investment firm that currently holds a minority stake in the document-copying chain.

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