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Walmart_store_banner_closeup.png Photos: Walmart

Walmart realigns organization to drive omnichannel

Executives say moves will help create more ‘seamless Walmart experience’

To spur its omnichannel strategy, Walmart is making a flurry of organizational changes aimed at more tightly integrating its U.S. brick-and-mortar and e-commerce operations and management.

President and CEO Doug McMillon, Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs and the CEOs of the retail giant’s U.S. businesses — Greg Foran of Walmart U.S., Marc Lore of Walmart U.S. eCommerce and John Furner of Sam’s Club — announced the moves Friday in a memo to employees.

Executives said the changes include consolidating the supply chain teams under a combined organization, joining the Walmart U.S. finance and e-commerce finance teams, expanding the U.S. customer organization and creating a new role of chief merchandising officer for the U.S. eCommerce unit.

“Our customers want one seamless Walmart experience. Over time, we’ve been organizing our strategy, tactics and teams to serve them in that way, while preserving the focus necessary to execute on multiple initiatives in parallel. We will continue strengthening our stores while expanding our pickup and delivery capabilities,” said McMillon and the other executives in the July 19 memo.

“Earning more of our customers’ business in food and consumables is foundational to our strategy and, at the same time, we will expand our ability to serve them with general merchandise in stores and through our broad e-commerce assortment as we continue to invest in and build our e-commerce business,” they explained. “We’re excited to share several next steps on this journey toward seamless omnichannel today.”

Greg_Smith_Walmart.pngGreg Smith (left), executive vice president supply chain for Walmart U.S., has been named to lead the combined supply chain organization. He will report to Foran and Lore.

“We’ve decided this is the right time to bring together our supply chain teams,” the memo said. “Greg has demonstrated his leadership ability and his capability to help shape the future of our omnichannel supply chain.”

The supply chain leadership team will now include Mike Gray, regional distribution network; Tim Cooper, grocery distribution network; Alex Krueger, e-commerce fulfillment operations; Monique Picou, flow, fashion, imports and reverse logistics networks; Cameron Geiger, supply chain services; Justen Traweek, central operations supply chain; Mike Indresano, e-commerce transportation; Tom Shortt, inventory management and strategy e-commerce; David Guggina, central operations e-commerce; Jeff England, strategy and automation; Ken Braunbach, inbound transportation; and Jeff Hammonds, fleet operations.

Nathan Faust, senior vice president of Walmart U.S. eCommerce supply chain and logistics, and a co-founder, will be taking on a new role, according to Walmart.

“Nate Faust has led tremendous e-commerce fulfillment progress these past few years. He has built a strong team, and our customer metrics reflect the tangible improvements they’ve made. We’re on the right trajectory,” the memo said. “Nate will support the integration of these teams before moving to a new opportunity we’ve identified, and we’re looking forward to sharing more about that with you soon.”

Meanwhile, Walmart U.S. CFO Michael Dastugue has been appointed to lead the combined U.S. finance team, which executives said will support the business “in a more integrated and customer-centric manner.” He will continue to report to Biggs. Steve Schmitt, now Sam’s Club CFO, will become the U.S. eCommerce CFO, supporting Lore and his team and reporting to Dastugue.

Jeff Shotts, the current Walmart U.S. eCommerce CFO, has been tapped to lead the U.S. marketplace business, reporting to Lore. Brandi Joplin, chief audit executive, will take on the role of Sam’s Club CFO.

On the customer-service side, Janey Whiteside — Walmart’s first chief customer officer — will get added support.

“We created the U.S. customer organization, led by Janey Whiteside, to do an even better job of putting our customers front and center while learning to work in an agile fashion to exceed their expectations. From the start, she has taken an omnichannel approach to the customer experience, reporting to both Marc and Greg. Today, we’re announcing a few additions to her team,” executives said in the memo.

Daniel Eckert, who leads the Walmart services and digital acceleration team, will shift to developing new services and experiences for customers and handling key cross-functional work on item file and other projects, according to Walmart. Also joining the customer organization are the returns team, led by Linne Fulcher, and the Walmart media group, led by Stef Jay. The company noted that “a seamless returns process is a critical part of the customer experience” and that it aims to “build our advertising business in a way that is most aligned to the interests of our customers.”

Walmart added that, for the customer group, it’s still searching to fill open roles for a chief experience and strategy officer, a chief product officer and a leader for the customer-care team.

Ashley_Buchanan_Walmart_Sams_Club.pngAmong other key moves, Ashley Buchanan (left), chief merchandising officer for Sam’s Club, has been named chief merchandising officer for U.S. eCommerce.

“Ashley will report to Marc Lore and be responsible for leading our eCommerce merchants — building our first-party merchandise assortment on, Jet, Hayneedle, Moosejaw, Bare Necessities, and,” the memo said. Buchanan also will oversee the digital brands Bonobos, ELOQUII, Modcloth and Allswell, and the company’s new brands incubation team.

“There are a few areas where we are choosing to maintain some structural separation to enable focus and speed, including our U.S. merchandising organization,” executives noted. “Our e-commerce sales growth, improving customer metrics and progress on contribution profit are encouraging, and we want to keep that going.”

Walmart said it will name a new Sam’s Club chief merchant soon. Plans call for Buchanan to “collaborate extensively” with Walmart U.S. Chief Merchandising Officer Steve Bratspies to “build omnichannel foundations for the future and leverage the strengths of both channels.”

In an email, Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove noted that, with the changes, no one is joining or leaving the company.

“Our big strategic opportunity is how we use our unique physical assets in conjunction with e-commerce. Grocery pickup and delivery gives an example of where we can offer a game-changing experience,” Hargrove explained. “We’re aligning the org more in the way a customer sees us — as one Walmart across app, site and stores. We had aligned technology over a year ago and now have Suresh Kumar leading that. And last year, Janey Whiteside came in to create a single customer organization. We’re further building out that omni-customer organization, and we’re merging supply chain and finance.”

In late May, Walmart hired former Google and Amazon executive Suresh Kumar as chief technology officer and chief development officer. Whiteside, a longtime American Express executive, joined Walmart in August 2018 as executive vice president and chief customer officer for Walmart U.S. and Walmart eCommerce U.S.

Currently, about 2,450 of Walmart’s U.S. stores provide free grocery pickup, and 1,000 offer same-day delivery. By the end of 2019, the company plans to have grocery pickup available at 3,100 stores and same-day delivery from 1,600 stores, covering about 80% and 50% of the U.S. population, respectively.

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