Walmart has tapped a 20-plus years company veteran to head up its second-largest operating segment — a job that many industry experts regard as a stepping stone to the top job at the retail giant.
The company announced it's promoting Judith McKenna to president and CEO of Walmart International, effective Feb. 2.
She will succeed David Cheesewright, who has been in the role since 2014 and recently announced his decision to retire from the full-time position. He will remain with the company full time through March, and then serve the company on a limited basis.
McKenna is currently executive VP and COO for Walmart U.S. She joined the company in 1996 at Asda, where she served as COO and CFO. McKenna also served as executive VP of strategy and international development for Walmart International. She moved to the Walmart U.S. division in April 2014, as the business unit’s chief development officer, where she led the strategy, development and growth of Walmart’s small format business and the partnership with Walmart.com to integrate digital commerce into the physical store presence. Several months later she was promoted to her current role.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon headed up the global division prior to being appointed to the top job at the chain in January 2014. So did his predecessor Mike Duke.
“I’ve had the pleasure to work with Judith for many years and have seen firsthand her ability to lead strategic change, build relationships with our associates and strengthen our business,” McMillon said. “It has been inspiring to see her personal growth and the results she’s driven over the years. Her integrity, high expectations and passion for the business and our associates will ensure our continued success in International."