Citing ‘constant change in retail,’ Wal-Mart makes several leadership changes in food, merchandising divisions

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 16,997 views 

Wal-Mart's corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Following news of corporate layoffs at Wal-Mart Stores’ headquarters in Bentonville, several major leadership changes were announced Friday via an internal memo by Charles Redfield, head of the grocery division, and merchandising heads Andy Barron and Scott Pleiman.

In three separate internal memos sent Friday (July 28) more than two dozen promotions and reassignments were announced, according to the documents obtained by Talk Business & Politics. Several positions at the director level were tagged “to be determined later” as a number of directors were laid off over the past two days in the company’s replenishment division.

“With constant change in retail, we’re fortunate to have leaders from across the company who can bring their experience and knowledge to new roles and deliver the results we need to win together,” Redfield said in his internal memo dated July 28 under the subject “Food leadership changes.”

Redfield said he asked Shawn Baldwin, senior vice president and general merchandise manager (GMM) for produce and global produce sourcing, to work on a new initiative that focuses on Hispanic customers. He said the retailer will share more details on the project as it moves forward.

“Shawn is the right leader to take on this work and he will continue reporting to me,” Redfield said.

Martin Mundo will take over the role Baldwin is exiting, according to the memo. Martin joined Wal-Mart in 1994 and has worked in Argentina and Costa Rica helping to establish the retailer’s global sourcing office there. Mundo will report to Redfield in this senior leadership role of GMM for produce and global sourcing.

Redfield also announced some changes in the company’s bakery and deli organizational structure as the retailer aims to accelerate and build on these service businesses. Redfield said he is splitting up the two departments. Kerry Robinson will continue leading bakery as GMM but will no longer be over deli. Robinson reports to Redfield. Tyler Lehr, was promoted to GMM of deli services after having spent 30 years working in food and merchandising for the retail giant. Most recently Lehr was divisional merchandising manager over dairy. He will continue reporting to Redfield.

Seth Malley, the merchandise manager of frozen foods, was promoted to divisional merchandise manager for beverage. He will report to Al Dominguez the GMM for snack and beverage. Redfield said Malley has been with Wal-Mart since 2006 working in food as well as sustainability areas helping to create the retailer’s first re-usable shopping bag.

“I am looking forward to the contributions these leaders will bring,” Redfield noted.

The merchandising teams at Wal-Mart are among areas being restructured. While there were layoffs which the company confirmed to Talk Business & Politics on Thursday, there were also several promotions announced internally by Andy Barron, executive vice president of general merchandise for Walmart U.S. In Barron’s corporate memo on Friday he said the following changes were a result of streamlining of the divisions with generation merchandise which are aimed at helping the retailer achieve its goals.

As a point of perspective, following is the merchandising hierachy at Wal-Mart’s corporate level.
Executive Vice President
Senior Vice President and or (general merchandise manager GMM)
Vice President and or (divisional merchandise manager DMM)
Senior Director

Barron said he restructured leadership to make the retailer more effective and better aligned to serve it customers. He said Scott McCall who has nearly 25 years at Wal-Mart will stay on as GMM but his role is being tweaked. McCall will now oversee entertainment, toys and seasonal at the GMM level. He is taking entertainment and giving up the home category.

Deanah Baker, who has more than 25 years at Wal-Mart, is transitioning to lead all of apparel which includes men’s children’s and shoes in addition to ladies, intimates jewelry and accessories. Baker is a GMM and deemed an apparel veteran. Jeff Evans who has been GMM for men, children’s apparel and shoes is transitioning to the home category which was abandoned by McCall. As the GMM for home he’s responsible for cook and dine, bed and bath, home decor, fabrics, crafts and home management.

Barron also said Ken Lanshe, who worked as senior director in apparel technical services on the private label side of the business, was promoted to vice president of general merchandise for technical quality. He will continue reporting to Karen Stuckey, a senior vice president of general merchandise for private brands.

Barron said because of transitions in merchandise operations he has had to backfill some positions left empty. Those include: Ryan Peterson who will move to divisional merchandising manager for electronics and report to McCall; and Richard Hayes is coming back to Walmart U.S. from Sam’s Club China where he will be the new divisional merchandising manager for automotive. Hayes reports to Terry Price in GMM of hardline.

Among those leaving the company in this latest replenishment restructuring include Jason Jobe, vice president of replenishment for general merchandise and softlines. Scott Pleiman, executive vice president of merchandising operations, noted in his internal memo Jobe’s last day will be Aug. 5 as he opted to exit the company capping an 11-year career with the retailer.

Sugandhu Khandelwai from competitor CVS Health will join Walmart U.S. as senior director of strategic services. Kate Ruckett, and Gary Williamson, senior managers in strategic business development will report to Khandelwai. In Pleiman’s memo he states “Merchandise Operations will now be led by centralized teams who will work with buying leadership to drive value and provide better insight into customer expectations.”

Greg Hall has been named senior vice president of merchandise operations pertaining to food. The following executives are transitioning to new roles and reporting to Hall:
Rohit Urankur was promoted to snacks and beverages where he’ll be a vice president transitioning from his senior director role;
• Tracy Default is joining Wal-Mart from Damon Worldwide and will be over merchandise services for packaged food;
• Mark Samuel will move to focus on food as vice president of modular and category development; and
• Kris King is transitioning from senior replenishment director to vice president of produce for merchandise operations.

Others reporting to Hall include: Dwan Reed, senior director for meat and seafood merchandise operations; Ralph Clare, senior director for deli and bakery merchandise operations; Howard Gabbert senior director for demand and supplier solutions; and Kimberly Griffith, senior director for food negotiation strategy.

Kim Strickland was promoted to senior vice president of merchandise operations for consumables and health & wellness. She previously worked as vice president of health & wellness. The following merchandise operations leaders will report to Strickland:
• Leslee McVey transitions to vice president of consumables;
• Rob Gaston senior director of health & wellness;
• Katherine McKeehan, senior director of pets;
• Antoinette Nash, senior director of baby;
• Tasha Tandy, senior director of modular development;
• Carmen Goncalves, senior director consumables, health & wellness negotiation strategy; and
• One other senior director for demand and supplier solutions to be determined.

Kevin Pate was promoted to senior vice president of general merchandise for operations. Pate previously worked in consumer electronics as vice president. Merchandising operations executives reporting to Pate include:
• Chad Yoes will transition to vice president of apparel;
• Navin Chandler is moving to hardlines as a vice president;
• Mark Larsen is transitioning to entertainment, seasonal & toys;
• Karen Rapier, senior director of home;
• Cherie Seyfarth, senior director of modular development;
• Bobby Jason, senior director of demand and supplier strategy; and
• Rob Wilson, senior director of general merchandise negotiation.

Jeff Gruener, senior vice president of merchandise finance & strategy, is transitioning to centralized solutions and execution and six leaders will report to him, two which will be directors not yet determined. Others reporting to Gruener include:
• Blake Hilliard, vice president merchandise solutions;
• Jerrit Davis, senior director of replenishment solutions; and
• Paul Beahm III, senior director third party negotiations.

Jeff Gallagher was named vice president of strategy, analytics and business support where he is a vice president. Previously he worked in business analytics for consumables and health & wellness. The leadership reporting to him include:
• Michael McGuire, senior director of assortment;
• Syam Antony, senior director merchandise process improvement;
• Rick Lockton, senior director for decision support;
• Bill Bennett, senior director pricing strategy; and
• Dennis McMillian, senior director pricing execution.

Cindi Marsiglio will transition from vice president of U.S. sourcing and manufacturing to vice president of merchandising project management offices and U.S. manufacturing. The seven leaders who will report to Marsiglio in her new role include:
• Judy Madewell, senior director over merchandise execution, store of the community and new remodel stores;
• Cindy Hay, senior director over merchandise execution for food and health & wellness;
• Terra Parker, senior director merchandise execution for general merchandise;
• Janet Mitchell, senior director of merchandise communication;
• Scott Gutche, senior director for U.S. Manufacturing;
• Michael Byron, senior director of supplier diversity;
• Lisa Binger, senior director of supplier Administration; and
• Shelly McDougal, senior director of project management offices.

David Scogin is remaining as vice president of store layout, space and associate store, and reporting to him are six leaders which include:
• Alex Schwarze, senior director of category space;
• Max Ludwig, senior director of prototype development;
• Paul Watts, senior director of store layout;
• Mike Miller, senior director of space tools;
• Deborah Lukotch, senior director of merchandise operations for associate store; and
• Mike Neil, senior director of neighborhood market space and design.