OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart shuffles executives, organizational structure

BY Mike Troy

Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is shuffling a number of key executives and also tinkering with its organizational structure. Veteran Wal-Mart operator Mike Moore, who currently serves as executive VP of the 613-unit Neighborhood Market division, will transition to a new executive VP role with oversight of Wal-Mart’s much larger 3,421-unit supercenter operation in the U.S.

Assuming Moore’s previous position is Wal-Mart West executive VP Julie Murphy.

Also of note is an expanded role for Wal-Mart U.S. senior VP of innovations Mark Ibbotson. He retains his senior VP title in the innovations organization now named “Central Operations,” but has been given new responsibilities for asset protection and work with Wal-Mart Global E-commerce to implement grocery home shopping within operations.

The key operational moves were shared in an internal announcement on Friday from Wal-Mart U.S. president and CEO Greg Foran and Wal-Mart U.S. COO Judith McKenna.

In addition to new responsibilities for Moore and Murphy, it was also revealed that Pam Kohn, executive VP of Wal-Mart Realty and Joaquin Gonzalez Varela, executive VP of Wal-Mart East, will leave the company.

The changes represent a fresh approach to operations as Wal-Mart appears intent on flattening its operation's organizational structure to put senior leadership in tighter contact with the field. A similar approach has been applied in the merchandising area, where four executive VPs of merchandising report directly to Foran.

In the operations area, Wal-Mart previously employed a conventional approach, dividing the U.S. into five large regions and later three regions. However, last year when Moore was given oversight of the Neighborhood Market division in recognition that the operational needs of a 40,000-sq.-ft. small format store are different than those of a 180,000-sq.-ft. supercenter, the company divided the nation in half.

Executive VPs Murphy and Gonzalez Varela were given oversight of the west and east, respectively. With the departure of Kohn, a former supermarket executive Wal-Mart has relied on at various times to lead Neighborhood Market and fresh merchandising, JP Suarez will be elevated to the role of senior VP of Wal-Mart Realty. He currently serves as senior VP of real estate strategy, design and construction.

The other notable change related to Kohn’s departure is that Wal-Mart Realty now reports to COO McKenna, who, like Foran, assumed her current position last year.

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