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New leaders for Walmart global, Sam’s

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart last month announced executive-level changes at its Walmart International and Sam’s Club U.S. units, including the retirement of Judith McKenna after 27 years with the company, most recently as president and chief executive at Walmart International.

McKenna will tradition out of the company by year-end. She will be succeeded by Kath McLay, who came to the United States in 2015 to take a financial role at Walmart and most recently served as president and CEO of Sam’s Club U.S.

McLay becomes CEO of Walmart International on September 11.

Succeeding McLay is Chris Nicholas, who has served as chief operating officer for Walmart U.S. since October 2021.

Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon announced the moves on August 16 in an email to Walmart associates. His email was followed by one from John Furner announcing that Kieran Shanahan will succeed Nicholas as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Walmart U.S.

In his note, McMillon expressed  gratitude for McKenna’s contributions and said he’s thankful for the depth of leadership at Walmart.

“I first met Judith when she was CFO of our business in the U.K., and I was struck by her combination of intelligence and heart,” McMillon wrote. “She went on to become COO of Asda before moving to our Home Office in Bentonville where she led strategy, real estate, M&A and other areas for our International segment. From there she led our Neighborhood Market business and our early work to transform into an omnichannel business as chief development officer of Walmart U.S., before being promoted to COO.

“As COO, Judith played an integral role in strengthening our Walmart U.S. business, shaping our eCommerce offering and digital transformation by leading the online grocery-pickup business. This was a foundational moment that helped us achieve the omnichannel position we have today. She prioritized our store associates. She listened carefully and acted quickly to make investments in compensation, launch Walmart Academies, introduce new technology for our store managers and make other changes that strengthened the core of the business.

“Nearly six years ago, we asked Judith to lead our International business. She and the team have re-architected the segment and led a multi-year transformation that resulted in International delivering more growth and stronger financial results across the board. More importantly, Judith’s leadership has positively impacted countless lives by creating opportunity and showing us how to lead with purpose. Her deep care for our associates around the globe and her passion for developing people has made a difference.”


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