Inside This Issue - News
October 17th, 2011
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – Walmart announced on September 28 the promotion of the two most senior executives of Walmart Canada to new positions.
David Cheesewright, formerly president and chief executive officer of Walmart Canada, was named executive vice president, president and CEO of a new regional management team. In this role he will lead Walmart’s retail operations in Canada, the United Kingdom and Sub-Saharan Africa. Cheesewright’s responsibilities will include the oversight of business development in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Canada. Cheesewright is to assume his new role immediately, and he will be reporting to Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart International. At presstime the location of Cheesewright’s principal operational office had not been determined.
Succeeding Cheesewright as president and CEO of Walmart Canada is Shelley Broader, until now chief merchandising officer of the Canadian company.
In an interview with MMR a few weeks ago on recent developments in Walmart Canada, Cheesewright emphasized the strength the company is showing as a developer of management talent that is especially capable of adapting to the challenge of operating in different cultures around the world. He attributed this flexibility to the multi-ethnic makeup of Canada’s population and listed some of the former Canadian executives who had gone on to hold senior positions in Walmart’s overseas companies. He observed that one-half of the members of the Canadian management team had lived and worked in other countries. He was probably quite unaware at the time that he was about to be an exemplar of the adaptability that Walmart Canada seems to nurture.
Cheesewright was appointed to the Canadian CEO position in February 2008 after serving as chief operating officer for Asda in the United Kingdom. That was his second posting in Canada. He had served as COO here from 2004 to 2005 and in that capacity had planned the introduction of the Supercenter to Canada. In his career with Asda he held progressively senior positions in all of operations, merchandising, logistics, strategy and format development. Prior to joining Asda, Cheesewright held a range of positions in sales, marketing, supply chain and manufacturing with Mars Confectionery’s British operation.
Broader is also a thoroughly seasoned retail executive. She joined Walmart Canada as chief merchandising officer in December 2010. Her immediately previous responsibility was senior vice president of the South division of Sam’s Club, based in Dallas. Prior to joining Walmart she was president and COO of Michaels, and in that position she was responsible for the chain’s 1,000 U.S. and Canadian stores. Broader also had experience in the supermarket business, having spent 17 years in management positions with Hannaford Brothers in New England. Her earliest business exposure was in investment banking.
Both of these newly promoted executives made their mark on Walmart Canada despite the short times they held their recently vacated positions.
In the 18 months or so that Cheesewright held the COO position he planned the introduction of the supercenter concept to Canada. The success of his planning was demonstrated in the smoothness with which the concept was integrated into the system and its ready acceptance by Canadian customers. In his more recent role, as president and CEO, two of the many initiatives he introduced or encouraged have been particularly useful.
Building on his British experience of operating compact stores, he switched the emphasis of the development of the Supercenters from the expansion of established stores to “in-box” conversions. With more economical use of space all the attributes of a regular Supercenter could be achieved, and that at lower cost, he demonstrated, without shifting the exterior walls.
The Canadian company on Cheesewright’s watch has become a leader in sustainability. Home office now has almost no material going to landfill; a store in Burlington, Ontario, heated and cooled by geothermal technology, has become a working laboratory for testing energy efficiencies; the new perishable distribution center in Calgary, Alberta, is one of the most sustainable DCs anywhere in the world; other stores are experimenting with solar panel and wind turbine installations for part of their heating and cooling needs. Walmart Canada’s efforts have had a modelling effect for many other Canadian businesses, extending well beyond the supplier base. Cheesewright, a former rugby player, sets a personal example in conserving energy and maintaining fitness by cycling to and from work twice a week, a round trip of some 30 miles.
Broader is particularly proud of the success the George apparel line has achieved after its expansion and the restyling of its components last year. Broader oversaw the relaunch last year. George fashions are now housed in distinctive “stores within the stores” that give the merchandise the powerful presentation it deserves. The transformation won this year’s Retail Council of Canada’s annual award for the best product relaunch.
Broader was able to call on her deep experience of the supermarket business when she worked on the merchandising aspects of the rapid expansion of grocery within the Supercenters. The efficiency of the distribution system is now such that fresh produce is delivered to the stores within 24 hours of its arriving at the distribution center, and, on average over the year, 30% of that produce is locally grown, 100% when local produce is in season.