Family ties endure at America’s biggest company

By Laurie Bennett

May 5, 2011 at 9:14am

Perhaps because it’s younger than many other names on the list, America’s top Fortune 500 company still bears a strong family identity.

The Fortune list, released Thursday, puts Wal-Mart in the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row.

Founded in Bentonville, Ark. in 1962, by the late Sam Walton, the worldwide chain spawned a family fortune that has spread well beyond retail.

S. Robson Walton
S. Robson Walton

As our Muckety map shows, family members have become involved in sports teams, publishing, banking and ranching.

Of the 15 members of the Wal-Mart board, three are family members. Sam’s sons - Jim and S. Robson Walton, are directors, as is S. Robson’s son-in-law, Gregory B. Penner.

Two other companies in the list’s top 10 have family ties.

At Berkshire Hathaway, ranked No. 7, Warren Buffett is chairman and his son, Howard, is a director.

At Ford Motor, No. 10, William Clay Ford Jr. is chairman and his cousin Edsel is a director.

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