Wal-Mart’s $1.1 million “associate”…

Friday’s announcement by Wal-Mart (WMT) that H. Lee Scott Jr. would be stepping down as president and CEO caught lots of people by surprise, according to the WSJ and others.

While we don’t profess to know Wal-Mart all that intimately, we were surprised by Scott’s agreement in the 8K that the company filed on Friday which will pay Scott $1.1 million a year for the next two years to serve as “a Wal-Mart associate” — what the company calls all of its employees. Friday’s press release said that Scott will serve as chairman of the executive committee of Wal-Mart’s board, a title that seems to go automatically to former Wal-Mart CEOs, including David D. Glass.

The $1.1 million represents a salary cut for Scott, who had been making $1.4 million as CEO. But the new agreement clearly spells out significantly fewer responsibilities, especially in year two when Scott will “reasonably reduce his hours, will be permitted to work remotely, and will begin a deliberate transition plan to reduce his participation on external boards as a representative of Wal-Mart, speaking engagements on behalf of Wal-Mart, and internal management committees.” The agreement also speeds up the vesting on Scott’s restricted shares — they are normally set to vest at age 65 — in exchange for Scott extending his non-compete clause through March 2016.

We’re not normally betting types, but we think it’s pretty safe to say that none of Wal-Mart’s other associates will get a similar deal.

Image source: Associated Press/Douglas Pizac