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Wal-Mart Reorganizes U.S. Division

On the heels of the announcement of a newly formed global sourcing organization with Li & Fung, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it is implementing several structural changes to its U.S. division, including the alignment of three operating divisions — logistics, real estate and store operations — under a single leadership team.

Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman, issued a memo to Wal-Mart associates outlining some of the new initiatives.

“The first of these structural changes is intended to gain alignment in the critical new store decision process by integrating Walmart’s realty division with store operations and logistics,” which will now be under the leadership of Bill Simon, evp and coo, Walmart US, Castro-Wright said.

As a result of this realignment, Eric Zorn, evp and president of Walmart Realty, reports to Bill Simon effective Feb. 1.

In addition to the three newly aligned divisions, the company will further organize into three geographic business units (GBUs) – Walmart West, Walmart South and Walmart North. The new senior leadership for these GBUs are:

Raul Vazquez, promoted to evp and president of Walmart West from president and ceo of Walmart.com;Rosalind Bewer, promoted to evp and president Walmart South from president of the Southeast division for Walmart;Hank Mullany, promoted to evp and president of Walmart North from president of the Northeast division of Walmart US.

The new structure will allow the company to “develop and grow our talent more quickly and provide opportunities throughout the organization,” Simon explained. “By reducing our market managers’ span of control, they will be able to focus on developing their store managers and to implement new productivity initiatives. The net impact will be stronger store managers with significantly more growth opportunities in the future.”

Relatedly, Walmart has also changed its regional general manager structure by adding smaller regions at the senior director level to augment the vp regional general managers.

“This move creates a stepping stone for market managers to gain leadership experience as they grow,” he added. “We have also changed the regional general managers’ span of control, to allow them to develop their market managers with a laser sharp focus.”

Also beginning Feb. 1, Walmart is transferring the responsibility for store merchandising to the zone merchandise supervisors from the market team — whose roles have been eliminated.

“As we continue to implement our merchandising transformation initiative, we have determined the need to realign several merchandise categories to improve our ability to offer customers a clear and compelling assortment of quality products,” Castro-Wright said.

The new store merchandising execution organization, led by svp of store merchandise operations Andy Barron, was made to connect merchandising “more closely to our operations and to our customer,” Simon said.

Barron reports to Simon and John Fleming, chief merchant.

Elaborating on these shifts was Fleming, who also issued a statement announcing organizational changes in merchandising.

“[Barron]’s team will design merchandise strategies for each of Walmart US’s new geographic business units and translate those strategies into executable, customer-focused programs,” Fleming explained. “In addition, the in-store presentation and store groups, currently in the customer experience organization, will move to [Barron]’s store merchandising execution team, close to our business units. For merchandising, this means we’ll be even more connected with operations — and with our customers.”

Scott Huff, svp, customer experience, and his staff are transitioning to the realty organization. Tim Austin, vp, store planning, and his staff are moving into the realty organization.

Under our Home and Hardlines divisions, Walmart is grouping related categories. Karen Stuckey’s responsibilities are being expanded to include outdoor living and seasonal categories as the svp, home merchandising. And Mike Moore assumes responsibility for automotive, stationery, hardware, fabric and crafts, and sporting goods under his new post as svp, merchandising, hardlines. He has been promoted from svp, West division operations.

Both Stuckey and Moore report to Fleming.

Carey Cuddeback is being shifted to Rick Webb’s team, where she will lead the product lifecycle management (PLM) system project.

“With these moves to align general merchandise in a more powerful way, we’re increasing our focus on brand strategy,” Fleming said.

Andrea Thomas will move from her private brand management role in marketing to an expanded role in merchandising as svp, brand merchandising for home, hardlines and entertainment. She reports to Fleming.

As part of the new global sourcing structure, svp Michael Lewis leads the global merchandising center for packaged grocery products, reporting to Jack Sinclair.

Jeff McAllister is taking a new role as svp, operations, for the newly created Texas division, while Paul Beahm assumes McAllister’s former responsibilities as svp, health and wellness operations.

With all these shifts also come changes to the company’s global e-commerce, especially in merchandising and marketing, as outlined by Castro-Wright in his second memo.

“Now that we have a well-defined blueprint to continue to grow our online business, it’s time to leverage our size and global footprint to take advantage of this evolving customer trend,” he said. “To accelerate the execution of these plans, we are announcing today several changes in how we pursue this business opportunity both here in the U.S. as well as globally.”

The company is now merging the merchandising and operations of the dotcom organization with those of its traditional retail business — an effort being led by Steve Nave, who has been promoted to svp and gm of the Walmart.com US Business Unit. He reports to Fleming.

Wal-Mart also is aligning the marketing function in Brisbane under the Stephen Quinn, chief marketing officer of Walmart US.

Walmart is also creating a new unit — Global.com — responsible for driving online growth around the world — both in developed markets where it currently has stores and in markets where it does not.

Leading the effort is Wan Ling Martello, formerly the cfo of Walmart International, now promoted to evp and coo of Global.com. In her new role, Martello’s primary responsibilities include: development and execution of a global strategy for e-commerce; establishing cross-functional and cross-border Walmart relationships designed to accelerate and broaden growth in the global online channel; and the creation of technology platforms and applications that can be used effectively in every Walmart market.

Walmart.com teams that will become part of Global.com reporting to Martello include product management, application development, platform engineering and strategy.

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