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McKenna becomes COO at Walmart

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart continued to reorganize its senior management lineup as 2014 came to a close, with the mid-December promotion of longtime company executive Judith McKenna to the post of chief operating officer for Walmart U.S.

McKenna, who has been with Walmart for almost 20 years and most recently served as chief development officer for Walmart U.S., succeeds Gisel Ruiz, another longtime member of the retailer’s senior management team.

Ruiz has moved into a new position as executive vice president of Walmart’s International People Division, and she will report to Walmart International president and chief executive officer David ­Cheesewright.

Both executives assumed their new roles immediately, according to Walmart’s ­statement.
McKenna continues to report to Walmart U.S. president and chief executive officer Greg ­Foran.

“One of the great things about Walmart is the depth and breadth of talent at all levels of our organization,” Foran said in the statement. “Around the globe, we have some of the best leaders in retail because of our focus on developing talent and our commitment to creating opportunities for diverse ­experiences.”

The promotion of McKenna to the key operations role follows by just a few weeks a re-shuffling of the merchandising team at Walmart U.S. Those moves included the departure of chief merchandising officer Duncan Mac Naughton and reassignment of several other senior merchandising executives. One retail analyst described the changes as a “changing of the guard” under Foran, who assumed his position last summer.

McKenna, who joined Walmart as part of its Asda leadership team in the United Kingdom, will lead a team of 1.3 million associates. She continues in her role of overseeing Walmart’s small-format stores, development of new formats, expansion of Walmart services and the integration of digital commerce into the existing U.S. stores, according to Walmart.

“At her core and by experience, Judith is a retailer who has made major contributions to our business throughout her career,” Foran added. “It’s exciting to bring her skills in managing store operations, small-format growth, logistics and e-commerce to an expanded role in U.S. operations. Her knowledge of global best practices and success in leading our associates will help drive Walmart U.S. business ­forward.”

In her previous role, Ruiz led Walmart’s focus on improving operational efficiencies, opened more than 400 new stores and increased representation of women and minorities across operations leadership roles. She now becomes a member of Cheesewright’s leadership team and the Global People leadership team.


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