At Wal-Mart Stores' annual shareholders meeting, Chairman Rob Walton said he had confidence in management. And at least one analyst agrees that CEO Lee Scott and his turnaround plan are showing some progress.
Patricia Edwards, managing director at Wentworth, Hauser and Violich, told "Morning Call" viewers that she is "thrilled" -- but sees more work to be done.
Wal-Mart shares rose 3% after it revealed plans to scale back supercenter expansion. And Edwards told CNBC's Dylan Ratigan that the world's biggest retailer has been infused with a much-needed "breath of fresh air."
She cited the inclusion of Alan Questrom, former CEO of J.C. Penney, who joined the board Friday, and the successes of Eduardo Castro-Wright as CEO of Wal-Mart Stores USA. The latter had shaped Wal-Mart's Mexican subsidiary, Wal-Mex, into that country's top retailer; luring him to his present position "is a brilliant stroke."
But Edwards also said that, in the wake of high-profile problems, the world's biggest retailer needs to change company "ethics from the top." She believes that the firm's public relations efforts are "more a facade than the true soul of the corporation," and called for a "little more airing out in Bentonville before stock prices move again."
Pressed by Ratigan on whether that "airing out" might include CEO Scott, she replied, "It might."