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Walmart elevates merchants, marketers and operators

BY Mike Troy

Photo: Greg Foran, Walmart U.S. president and CEO

Walmart promoted dozens of executives to new roles in operations, merchandising and marketing as it looks to execute a four-pronged growth strategy.

Walmart U.S. president and CEO Greg Foran and three other top executives on March 4 announced the moves in a series of internal memos obtained by Retailing Today. The changes are seen helping Walmart deliver on a strategy Foran said revolves around winning with stores, delivering value, being great merchants and providing convenience.

Several key moves involved operations executives including Mark Ibbotson who was tapped for a major role as executive vice president of central operations for Walmart U.S. Ibbotson previously served as senior VP of innovations after joining Walmart U.S. in 2014 from the retailer’s ASDA division in the United Kingdom where he served as COO. Another noteworthy operational move involved Jesica Duarte who was appointed to the role of vice president of Neighborhood Market format development reporting to Julie Murphy who serves as president of Neighorhood Markets. Duarte previously served as chief merchandising officer for Walmart in Chile.

In the marketing area, Walmart U.S. chief marketing officer Tony Rogers promoted Kirsten Evans to the role of senior VP of corporate marketing. She most recently served as vice president and divisional merchandise manager in grocery. Evans joined Walmart 10 years ago in a marketing role.

The majority of the recently announced changes involved executives in the merchandising department lead by Steven Bratspies who was named Walmart U.S. chief merchandising officer last October. They include:

· In the food division led by executive VP Charles Redfield, Kerry Robinson was named senior VP of bakery deli services after previously serving as VP/DMM. Shawn Baldwin, who worked closely with Redfield during their tenure at the Sam’s Club division, was elevated to the role of senior VP of produce and global food sourcing after previously serving as senior VP of fresh. Tom Leech, who previously oversaw global food and consumable sourcing left the company.

· Reporting to Baldwin in new roles will be Dorn Wenninger and Jeff Thorpe. Wenninger was named VP of global food sourcing for Latin America after previously serving as VP/DMM of produce. Thorpe becomes VP of global food sourcing for North America after serving as VP of produce upstreaming and local sourcing. Also reporting to Baldwin will be produce merchandise managers Mikel Hankco, Laura Himes and Michael Cochran, senior director of agricultural development Victor Verlage and, senior director of sustainable agriculture Ron McCormick and senior director of global food sourcing planning David Storms. The company said Ignacio Cifuentes, VP of global food sourcing in Chile resigned.

· Al Dominguez was named senior vice president of adult beverage after previously serving as senior VP of snacks and beverages. Scott Neal was named senior VP of meat quality control and meat sourcing strategy after previously serving as senior VP of sourcing strategy for meat. Reporting to Neal will be Chuck Tilmon, VP of quality control and Denise Wright, senior director protein sourcing.

· Ashley Buchanan was named senior VP of packaged goods, after previously serving as senior VP of dry grocery, a move that aligns snacks, beverage, dairy and deli under his leadership. Reporting to Buchanan are Julie Barber, VP/DMM for snacks, Zach Simpson, VP/DMM for beverages and John Laney, VP/DMM for breakfast and baking. Each was promoted from senior director roles in those areas. The VP/DMM of dry grocery position vacated by Kirsten Evans’ move to marketing was filled by Silvia Azrai Kawas who also reports to Buchanam.

While most of the merchandise moves were in the food area, other changes were announced in the general merchandise area lead by executive vice president Andy Barron, the consumables and health division lead by executive vice president Michelle Gloeckler and the merchandise operations division lead by executive VP Scott Huff. Among the changes were:

· Scott Bayles was promoted to the role of VP/DMM for stationery after serving as a senior director for the department and will continue reorting to Terry Price, senior VP/GMM of hardlines. Steve Ronchetto was named VP/DMM for cook and dine, after serving as senior director and merchandise manager for toys, reporting to Scott McCall, SVP/GMM for home and seasonal.

· Marcus Osborne was named to the role of vice president of health and wellness transformation reporting to George Riedl, senior VP of health and wellness. He previously served as VP of health and wellness payer relations. In his new role, Osborne will focus on driving the strategic vision, business development and key initiatives for the transformation of the health and wellness business.

· Navin Chander was named VP of the merchandising project management office after serving as senior director of merchandising operations and will continue reporting to Scott Huff. Also reporting to Huff is Blake Hilliard who was named VP of merchandising solutions after serving as VP of merchandise planning.

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