Cole Peterson is President/CEO of Hollis Enterprises, LLC, a human resources consulting firm founded in 2004 following his retirement from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. He specializes in executive coaching and keynote speaking engagements globally.
Peterson, known as America's top people person, served as Executive Vice President of People for Wal-Mart Stores, 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 Wal-Mart's most aggressive global expansion and helped diversify its workforce. Today, Wal-Mart 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, Build-A-Bear Workshop of St. Louis, Missouri, and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. of Lebanon, Tennessee. He is chairman of the compensation and development committees on all three boards and serves on the nominating and corporate governance committees on both the J.B. Hunt and Build-A-Bear Bear 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. His most recent recognitions are 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.
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 and reside in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.