US retail titan Wal-Mart has announced that vice chairman Thomas M. Coughlin is to retire from the company, effective 24 January, after more than 25 years with the company.

Coughlin began his Wal-Mart career in 1978 in the company's security division, and was named vice chairman of Wal-Mart and elected to the Wal-Mart board of directors in April 2003. Coughlin will remain on the Wal-Mart board until his term ends at the company's annual shareholder meeting on 3 June 2005.

Wal-Mart's senior management team will assume Coughlin's responsibilities upon his retirement.