Merchandising shake-up at Walmart

It turns out the announcement earlier today by Walmart that Duncan Mac Naughton would serve as head merchant of the company’s U.S. division was but one component of a more extensive shakeup at the company.

Walmart issued a press release early Friday that Mac Naugton had been named CMO after serving just three months as EVP merchandising responsible for health and wellness, consumables and However, other personnel moves and restructuring actions were disclosed only in internal company announcements beginning with a message from Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO Mike Duke under the heading of “How we are building the next generation Walmart.”

According to Duke, who was fresh off a trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where Walmart hosted a breakfast, the next generation Walmart is one where the company could serve as many as 1 billion customers a week.

“If we are going to continue to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations, we must adapt to reach them on their terms. We’ll do this by collaborating in new ways globally, leveraging our talent and developing ways to service customers anytime, anyplace,” according to Duke.

Accordingly, Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon elevated Mac Naugton to the chief merchant role and then in an internal announcement spelled out several other moves, but did not mention who would be filling Mac Naughton’s shoes.

In operations, Raul Vasquez, who served briefly as EVP of Walmart’s western division was given a new role as EVP global e-commerce. Filling his position is Michael Bender who joined Walmart in 2009 from Cardinal Health and previously served as SVP of Walmart’s mountain division. Rosalind Brewer will serve as EVP of Walmart’s eastern division and will fill a position previously occupied by Hank Mullaney. Mike Moore will serve as EVP of the central region.

With Vasquez’s move to global e-commerce, he will oversee developed markets as part of a restructuring implemented by vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright. He announced that Wan Ling Martello would serve as EVP global e-commerce for emerging markets and business development. The company also expects to name an EVP and chief technology officer for its global e-commerce unit.

Castro-Wright said that Walmart global group created a year ago has a strong foundation in place, but the new structure “will ensure we are responsive to all of the multichannel shopping needs of our customers across every market.”

In addition to the U.S. merchandising and operations changes and the Global eCommerce developments, Walmart executives Rollin Ford, chief information officer, and Sam’s Club president and CEO Brian Cornell, announced a new team called Global Business Processes that will be led by Rick Webb as SVP innovations.

In the new role, Webb will be responsible for enhancing Walmart customers' shopping experience, increasing the effectiveness of the merchandising, planning and marketing organizations and identifying opportunities to better optimize merchandise flow. Webb reports to Ford.

The company also created a new organization called Global Customer Insight and indicated it would soon name someone to lead the group.


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