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Walmart tightens ship

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal­mart has shuffled its merchandising management ranks while eliminating some positions in its merchandising and replenishment divisions. At the same time, the retailer has unveiled new proposals to promote manufacturing in the United States.

The management changes are taking place in food, general merchandise and merchandising operations, and they were revealed in three internal memos issued in late July. Some of the changes are related to an initiative focused on Hispanic consumers, while others reflect structural changes within merchandising operations.

According to a memo issued by Charles Redfield, executive vice president of food for Walmart U.S., Shawn Baldwin, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for produce and global produce sourcing, will lead the Hispanic initiative. In 2012 Baldwin won the Sam Walton Entrepreneur of the Year award for his work in growing the fresh business within Sam’s Club.

He is being replaced by Martin Mundo, senior vice president of operations, Southeast, for Walmart U.S. Mundo, who joined Walmart in 1994, held leadership positions in Argentina before joining Walmart U.S. in 2012.

In recognition of the growing importance of deli and bakery, Redfield said responsibility for those businesses will be split between Kerry Robinson and Tyler Lehr. Robinson had been responsible for both departments, but he will now concentrate on bakery alone as senior VP and GMM of bakery. Lehr, who had been VP of Win in Fresh, has been promoted to senior VP and GMM of deli services. He is being succeeded by Marc Lieberman, VP of Neighborhood Markets.

Other changes in food merchandising include the promotion of Seth Malley to VP and divisional merchandise manager, beverage. He had been merchandise manager for frozen foods.

On the general merchandise side of the business, Scott McCall, senior VP and GMM for health and wellness merchandising, has been moved to leadership of entertainment, toys and seasonal products, while Deanah Baker, senior VP and GMM for ladies’ apparel, intimates, jewelry and accessories, has expanded her portfolio to include all of apparel, shoes and accessories.

In addition, Jeff Evans, who had been in charge of men’s and children’s apparel and shoes, has been named senior VP and GMM of home merchandise, which includes cooking, dining, bed and bath, home decor, fabrics, and crafts.

According to a memo from Scott Pleiman, executive vice president of merchandising operations, the division will now be led by centralized teams that work with the buying organization “to drive value and provide better insights into customer expectations.”

A number of personnel shifts have occurred in the merchandising ops team as well. Greg Hall, who had been senior VP and GMM of entertainment, will take on the role of senior VP of food merchandise operations. Kim Strickland, who had been VP of health and wellness, central operations, has been appointed senior VP of merchandise operations for consumables and health and wellness. Finally, Kevin Pate has been named senior VP of general merchandise operations.

The shifts and promotions were announced the same week that Walmart revealed its latest round of layoffs at its home office — the third to occur this year. The layoffs, said to number “a few dozen,” are being made in Walmart’s merchandising (which includes buyers and planners) and replenishment divisions, for the most part.

While Walmart hones its operations, it has also maintained its focus on promoting U.S. manufacturing and creating more jobs in this country. Late last month the company revealed a program, “Walmart’s Policy Roadmap to Renew U.S. Manufacturing,” intended to spur job growth by boosting domestic manufacturing. The main proposals contained in the plan include:
• Building vocational training programs linked to local ­industry.
• Encouraging component production to help close supply chain gaps.
• Facilitating public-private cooperation to promote manufacturing clusters.
• Coordinating manufacturing regulations across different levels of government and streamlining compliance requirements.
• Creating a globally competitive tax environment.
• Expanding and protecting targeted state and local tax deductions to support investment in manufacturing.
• Modernizing trade agreements to boost U.S. manufacturers’ ­competitiveness.


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