Cole Peterson is President/CEO of Hollis Enterprises, LLC, a human resource consulting firm founded in 2004 following his retirement from Walmart, Inc. He specializes in executive coaching, succession planning and keynote speaking engagements.
Peterson served as Executive Vice President of People for Walmart, Inc., where he had the distinction of being the Chief Human Resource Officer of the world’s largest private workforce (today: 2.1 million associates worldwide). He headed human resources during Walmart‘s most aggressive global expansion and helped diversify its workforce. Today, Walmart is the country’s No. 1 employer of African Americans and Hispanics.
Peterson serves on the corporate boards of J.B. Hunt Transport of Lowell, Arkansas and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. of Lebanon, Tennessee. He is chairman of the compensation and development committees and also serves on the nominating and corporate governance committees on both boards. Peterson has formally served on the ServiceMaster and Build-a-Bear Workshop boards.
Peterson’s numerous recognitions include: The Award for Professional Excellence, The Society for Human Resource Management‘s highest honor; the Lifetime Achievement Award for Human Resource Excellence from Linkage, Inc.; The Chancellor’s Medal for Volunteerism from the University of Arkansas and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arkansas MLK Planning Commission. He has received the National Association of African Americans in Human Resource Professionals Trail Blazer Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arkansas Society for Human Resource Management State Council. Peterson is a Fellow of the Academy of Human Resources, and a member of both Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities. He has authored a book titled “How To Get There From Here – The Ten Lessons That Have Served Me Well”
Peterson is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and grew up in Chicago where he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Loyola University. He and his wife, Shirley, have two adult children, two grandsons and reside in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.