BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has been reconfiguring its marketing team following the August 30 departure of Barbara Messing, who returned to the San Francisco Bay Area after serving as the company’s chief marketing officer for a little over a year.
Michael Francis, a former chief marketer at both Target Corp. and Dreamworks, is joining Walmart to oversee the marketing team while Walmart seeks a new chief marketing officer, as well as a senior vice president of marketing.
Francis, who has served as a consultant to Walmart since 2015, will come on full time to help steer the transition of the marketing operation, according to chief customer officer Janey Whiteside.
Whiteside, who joined Walmart from American Express at around the same time Messing was hired, said that Walmart’s marketing operations team will report to Rich Lehrfeld, the company’s senior vice president of brand marketing, creative and media. Lehrfeld joined Walmart in June from American Express.
Whiteside also said the new marketing team at Walmart will include former Walmart chief executive officer Mike Duke’s daughter Brittney Duke, who will serve as vice president for general merchandise marketing.
Also on the team will be: David Echegoyen, who was named vice president of omni grocery, digital acceleration and services marketing in July; Ciara Anfield, who will serve as vice president of consumables marketing; Karissa Price, who will be vice president of health and wellness marketing; and Alvis Washington, who is vice president of store experience marketing.
“We were able to find some synergies within the organization” with moves in the marketing department, Whiteside wrote in the memo.
Walmart’s marketing unit has undergone considerable tumult since the departure of Stephen Quinn in 2015. Quinn was succeeded by Tony Rogers, who left last year for a position at Sam’s Club.
The changes don’t seem to be affecting the retailer’s financial performance. Walmart U.S. has had 20 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth, including a 2.8% increase in its latest quarter. Digital sales increased 37% during the quarter ended July 31. Walmart said e-commerce is getting a boost from the national rollout of services offering in-store pickup — now available at more than 2,700 U.S. stores — and next-day delivery, a program now accessible by 75% of the U.S. population.
“Customers are responding to the improvements we’re making, the productivity loop is working, and we’re gaining market share,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart’s CEO.