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McKenna was asked to lead Walmart’s International business nearly six years ago.

Walmart International CEO Judith McKenna set to retire

Kathryn McLay and Chris Nicholas will lead Walmart International and Sam’s Club U.S.

Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon wrote a letter to employees confirming the retirement of Walmart International CEO Judith McKenna after 27 years with the company.  

The letter also announced that Sam's Club CEO and President Kathryn McLay is moving into a new role as head of the international division, replacing McKenna whose retirement is  effective Sept. 11.

Also, as part of the organizational changes, Chris Nicholas, who previously served as COO and CFO, was promoted to Sam’s Club U.S. CEO and president. Kieran Shanahan, an executive in the International Operations division, was named executive vice president and COO for Walmart U.S.

McKenna started as CFO of Walmart in the U.K. and went on to become COO of Asda before moving into the home office in Bentonville, Ark., where she led strategy, real estate, M&A, and other areas for Walmart’s International segment. From there she led the Neighborhood Market business and Walmart’s early work to transform into an omnichannel business as chief development officer of Walmart U.S. before being promoted to COO. 

As COO, McKenna played an integral role in strengthening the Walmart U.S. business, shaping its ecommerce offering and digital transformation by leading the online grocery pickup business. This was a foundational moment that helped Walmart achieve the omnichannel position it has today. 

Nearly six years ago, McKenna was asked to lead Walmart’s International business. She and the team have restructured  the segment and led a multi-year transformation that resulted in International delivering more growth and stronger financial results across the board. She will remain with the company until Jan. 31, 2024, to help ensure a smooth transition and to continue serving on the Walmex, Flipkart, and PhonePe boards.

McLay, who will be the next  president and CEO of Walmart International, joined the company in 2015. After roles in strategy and supply chain, she led the Neighborhood Market business before becoming the president and CEO of Sam’s Club U.S., where she and her 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,” McMillon said in the letter. McLay moved to the U.S. from Australia to join Walmart after spending the early part of her career with Woolworths and Qantas. 

Nicholas, the new president and CEO of Sam’s Club U.S., has been Walmart U.S. COO where he has led the 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 Walmart U.S. and Walmart International businesses. Nicholas 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.


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