OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart taps former CBS web exec as head of global e-commerce

BY Marianne Wilson

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores announced that Neil Ashe, 44, is the new president and CEO of the company’s global e-commerce business, effective Jan. 16.

Ashe was most recently president of CBS Interactive, where he led all online properties and also drove development of new ways to distribute programming produced by the media giant and its subsidiaries.

Ashe is replacing Eduardo Castro-Wright, who announced his retirement in September and will assist in the transition.

"E-commerce is a great opportunity for us and we have a long-term vision to win," said Mike Duke, Walmart’s president and CEO. "We are on track to create the next generation of e-commerce, combining the latest in online innovations with physical stores to give our customers a unique and seamless shopping experience."

Duke described Ashe as the “ideal leader” to help the chain build its online business.

“He has led companies through all stages of growth and maturity,” Duke said. “He also has a deep understanding of the interactive space and how to attract and convert online customers. Perhaps most importantly, much of Neil’s professional success has come through close collaboration and shared goals with his peers – a key attribute as we continue to integrate our online businesses across the company and with our physical stores."

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OPERATIONS

Best Buy in management shuffle

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Best Buy announced that Shari Ballard and Mike Vitelli, who had both been president of Best Buy’s domestic business, will take on separate jobs, effective immediately. The retailer, which posted disappointing holiday results, said it was undertaking the changes to accelerate its strategy by aligning the company’s senior operating talent with its highest priorities.

Ballard, who joined Best Buy in 1993 as an assistant store manager, was named president of the international business, which includes stakes in China, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Vitelli, who joined Best Buy in 2004 after 23 years at Sony Electronics, will continue to lead the U.S. business.

Commenting on the change, Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn said: “The focus, energy and drive of these two leaders will serve us well as we accelerate the pace of our company’s transformation, work to provide more compelling multi-channel experiences for our customers and employees around the world and improve returns for our shareholders.”

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News

Abercrombie & Fitch taps IBM to expand online business

BY Staff Writer

Armonk, N.Y. — IBM announced that Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is working with IBM software to help the company transform its online business to achieve greater speed and efficiency. The initiative is part of Abercombie’s strategic goal to expand its direct-to-consumer capabilities and drive its e-commerce business to $1 billion.

"Abercrombie & Fitch Co., and its portfolio of brands including Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister Co, Abercrombie kids, and Gilly Hicks, is growing its e-commerce and cross-channel operation dramatically in the coming years. We require a world-class solution that will scale over time, bolster international expansion, and support cross-channel commerce. IBM’s e-commerce and order management solutions meet our requirements for infrastructure, scalability, and future growth," said John Deane, senior VP and CIO at Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

Abercrombie & Fitch is using IBM’s WebSphere commerce platform for its branded storefronts, both domestically and internationally. The company is adding IBM order management software, which includes call center functions for accessing and updating customer orders, to provide the retailer with the operational foundation it needs to move toward providing seamless, integrated cross-channel solutions.

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