Kath McLay, Chris Nicholas and Kieran Shanahan assuming new roles
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart International president and CEO Judith McKenna is retiring after 27 years with the company. Kath McLay will become the president and CEO of Walmart International, and Chris Nicholas will take McLay’s place as president and CEO of Sam’s Club U.S. The leadership changes will take effect on Monday, September 11.
Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon announced the moves 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.
“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. Judith put the phrase, “Our people make the difference,” back onto our store associate badges to remind everyone how essential associates are to our success.
“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. Judith will remain with the company until Jan. 31, 2024 to help ensure a smooth transition and to continue serving on our Walmex, Flipkart and PhonePe Boards.”
McMillon said he was grateful for McKenna’s contributions to the company, its associates and its business. He said he was also thankful for the depth of leadership at Walmart, and added that he was excited to see McLay step into the role of president and CEO of Walmart International.
“Kath joined our company in 2015,” McMillon wrote. “After roles in strategy and supply chain, she led our Neighborhood Market business before becoming the president and CEO of Sam’s Club U.S., where she and our team delivered 12 straight quarters of double-digit sales growth. She prioritized a member-centric culture, the improvement of our merchandise quality and an expansion of our omnichannel capabilities. Kath moved to the U.S. from Australia to join Walmart after spending the early part of her career with Woolworths and Qantas. She’ll do a phenomenal job leading our International business.
I’m also excited that Chris Nicholas will become the president and CEO of Sam’s Club U.S. Most recently, Chris has been our Walmart U.S. COO where he has led our store and supply chain team and helped develop a strategy to create a more intelligent and automated end-to-end supply chain. He was previously the CFO of our Walmart U.S. and Walmart International businesses. Chris moved to the U.S. to join Walmart after serving in merchandising and finance roles across seven countries while with Tesco, Salling and the Coles group in Australia. Chris has a passion for the development of our associates and for serving our customers. He’ll bring this passion to Sam’s Club, and I know he will do an exceptional job.”
In his own email to Walmart associates, Furner detailed Shanahan’s career at Walmart.
“Kieran has most recently served as executive vice president, International Operations, and regional CEO for Walmart International,” Furner noted. “In this role, Kieran led performance and strategy for Massmart and Chile, and served as the operating partner for Canada. He also oversaw the Technology, Operations, Marketplace, Real Estate, and Supply Chain teams for International. Prior to this role, Kieran served as EVP and chief growth officer of Sam’s Club. He was responsible for membership, marketing, data monetization, developing future revenue streams, and driving convenience as the differentiator for members.”
Furner noted that Shanahan joined Walmart more than 25 years ago as a store associate at Asda.
“He moved to the Walmart U.S. team in 2014 as vice president for online grocery and helped pioneer online grocery pickup and delivery,” Furner wrote. “He also served as a divisional merchandise manager (DMM) before becoming senior vice president and general merchandise manager (GMM) for food, consumables, and health and wellness for our Walmart U.S. eCommerce business. He was then promoted to the chief merchant role for Walmart Canada where he helped lead our business there through the pandemic. The breadth of his experience in leading transformational ways of working and developing talent across many areas of our businesses positions him perfectly to lead the End-to-End organization.”