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Walmart makes merchandising moves

More than a dozen executives in Walmart’s merchandising organization will begin the new fiscal year with different responsibilities following a restructuring announced on Thursday.

An internal announcement from Duncan Mac Naughton, Walmart’s chief merchandising and marketing officer detailed the moves involving executives with responsibilities for food, consumables, health and wellness, general merchandise, merchandise execution and private label.

“We’re coming off a strong year and beginning our new fiscal year with accelerating momentum with every part of our business focused on being even more responsive to our customers,” said Mac Naughton said in an internal announcement. “These moves strengthen our merchant talent and capabilities across the globe, and this is a testament to the strength we have in our business.”

Among the notable changes were:
•    John Aden was named to the new role as EVP of merchandise services. His new responsibilities include replenishment, merchandise execution, small formats and supplier diversity.
•    Assuming Aden’s previous responsibilities as EVP of general merchandise is Steve Bratspies. He assumes responsibility for entertainment, toys, seasonal, sporting goods, automotive, hardware, paint, stationery, crafts and fabric. Bratspies joined Walmart in 2006, initially as a SVP of marketing and most recently served as SVP of dry grocery.
•    Laura Phillips was named SVP of entertainment after previously serving as SVP of toys, seasonal and celebrations, and will report to Bratspies.
•    Moving into Phillips prior position will be Scott McCall. He currently serves as SVP of health and wellness, but earlier in his Walmart career, which began in 1993, he was responsible for toys. He too will report to Bratspies.
•    Rejoining Sam’s Club in a new capacity as SVP of merchandise business services is Seong Ohm. She currently serves as SVP of entertainment, but previously working in Sam’s merchandising and also spent time at Walmart’s Japanese subsidiary Seiyu.
•    In the health and wellness area, Carmen Bauza was named SVP of OTC health and wellness. She fills the roll previously occupied by McCall and will report to Dr. John Agwunobi, president of health and wellness. Bauza currently serves as VP of beauty and personal care.
•    Shipping off to Walmart’s Brazilian subsidiary is Steve Breen. He currently serves as SVP of snacks and beverages and will become chief merchandising office of Walmart Brazil.
•    Filling Breen’s roles is Ashley Buchanan who was promoted to SVP of snacks and beverages from his current role as VP of meals, condiments and specialty.

Anytime Walmart begins shuffling the deck within its merchandise organization it tends to have ripple effects and that is the case with the latest round of moves. Accordingly, Mac Naughton said the company is looking to strategically align its fresh categories. That means Scott Neal is being elevated to the role of SVP produce, meat and seafood after previously serving as VP of meat and seafood and will report to EVP of food Jack Sinclair. As a result, of the realignment and elevation of Neal, other executives finding themselves in new roles include:
•    DeDe Priest was named SVP of deli, bakery, dairy and frozen.
•    Assuming Priest’s prior dry grocery responsibilities is Matt Kistler who was named SVP of dry grocery. He currently serves as SVP of merchandise execution.
•    Taylor Smith is being promoted to SVP of merchandise execution to assume Kistler’s responsibilities from his current roles VP of baby. He will report to John Aden.
•    Responsibility for the baby business now falls to Jane Ewing who was named SVP after joining Walmart international last fall after a 20 year career with Diageo PLC.

In addition to the merchandising moves, Walmart also made several changes that are reflective of new sourcing initiatives. For example, Michelle Gloeckler was given new responsibility for a sourcing organization that will focus on U.S. sourcing and manufacturing. She will maintain her current responsibilities as SVP of home. Aiding Gloeckler will be Greg Hall who was named VP of U.S. sourcing and manufacturing. He will report to Gloeckler and most recently served as VP of marketing for Walmart.com

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