Home Depot welcomes Arthur Blank at its 2016 annual meeting

By Maria Saporta

A special guest attended Home Depot’s annual meeting Thursday morning – co-founder Arthur Blank

It was only the second annual meeting that Blank had attended since he left the company in 2002. The last time was in 2008 – the first year that Frank Blake was CEO of the home-improvement company.

“They are doing a fabulous job,” Blank said adding that “fabulous” was an inadequate word to describe how well the company was doing. He said the executive team at the company is doing what’s appropriate to take the company “to the next level and the level beyond that – they are setting standards that make me proud and Bernie proud.”

Arthur Blank Carol Tome Craig Menear

CFO Carol Tomé and CEO Craig Menear spend time with co-founder Arthur Blank at the annual Home Depot meeting (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Blank was referring to fellow co-founder Bernie Marcus.

Craig Menear, CEO of the company; and Carol Tomé, the chief financial officer, detailed Home Depot’s financial results in 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.

“2015 was a good year for Home Depot,” Tomé said. “We reported the highest sales and earnings in our company’s history.”

Menear took it a step further. He said the goal for the company was to hit $101 billion in revenues by 2018. In other words, between 2015 and 2018, the company’s sales would have to grow by $12 billion.

The toughest moment during the annual meeting was when a shareholder said as Home Depot to renounce its affiliation with Georgia Prospers – a group formed to oppose the religious liberty bills being proposed in the Georgia General Assembly. If it didn’t, the shareholder said Home Depot will be just another bigoted company.”

Craig Menear’s response was short. “We are against anything that discriminates,” he said.

After the meeting, Blank was asked how the meeting compared to when he and Marcus were leading the company.

“This is different,” Blank said. “We were kind of loud and ruckus.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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