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Walmart pharmacy exec adds duties under reorganization

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart pharmacy merchandising executive Paul Beahm will take on more responsibility under the discount store giant’s sweeping reorganization plan unveiled late this week.

In a memo posted on the Walmart web site, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer John Fleming said that Beahm will assume the duties of senior vice president of health and wellness operations Jeff McAllister, who is slated to take on a new role as senior vice president of operations for the retailer’s newly created Texas Division.

Paul Beahm

Beahm, who joined Walmart as a pharmacy manager more than 20 years ago, currently serves as senior vice president of merchandising for health and wellness.

A little over a year ago, Walmart revamped part of its health and wellness division to align all merchandising responsibilities — including pharmacy, over-the-counter and optical — under the direction of Beahm, who at the time served in the role of senior vice president and general manager of pharmacy merchandising.

Walmart is the No. 4 player in terms of pharmacy count, with 4,150 locations, and the No. 3 retailer in pharmacy dollar volume, estimated at nearly $20 billion, according to Chain Drug Review‘s 2009 Annual Report of Retail Pharmacy.

Under the reorganization announced Thursday, Walmart is merging some functions, realigning its field operations and reshuffling some executive responsibilities, among other moves, to become a more nimble operation that can drive greater efficiencies and be more responsive to customer demand.

Among the changes, Walmart is regrouping its field operations into three geographic units: Walmart West, Walmart South and Walmart North. In addition, the retailer is creating a new merchandising unit, dubbed Store Merchandising Execution, that’s designed to tie merchandising more tightly with store operations. The company, too, is integrating its realty division with its store operations and logistics units.

Earlier on Thursday, Walmart said it’s forming global merchandising centers (GMCs) in conjunction with a strategic alliance with Li & Fung, a global sourcing organization. The company first announced that it would consolidate its global sourcing around the new GMCs during its annual analysts conference last October.

"Over the last three years, we have made significant changes in our business to further strengthen our price leadership, improve the merchandise assortments that we offer to our customers and upgrade the shopping experience in our stores. All of these accomplishments have been made possible by the clear alignment of the entire Walmart U.S. organization behind our powerful purpose: We help save people money so they can live better," Walmart vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright said in a memo about the reorganization that was posted on the company’s web site.

"We have referred to this effort as Project Impact, and customers have responded very favorably," he stated. "It is now time to escalate these efforts — to switch to high gear — by leveraging our size and global scale to drive greater efficiencies and lower the cost of goods to help accelerate growth." 


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