Judith McKenna, recently named CEO of Walmart International, has tapped JP Suarez as the executive vice president and chief administration officer for Walmart International. This week Suarez left his position as head of the retailer’s realty division to join McKenna’s team.
Suarez joined Walmart in 2004. His new role marks a return to the international business, where he previously served as general counsel and later as head of business development. He replaces Scott Price, who left the company in December for a senior role at United Parcel Service Inc.
Walmart put Mark Ibbotson in charge of the realty division in addition to his role as executive vice president of U.S. central operations, which includes the areas of innovation, online grocery and asset protection. Last week Walmart introduced Ibbotson to the media as also taking on the real estate division oversight. The realty division has roughly 3,000 employees and manages a budget of about $8 billion.
Talk Business & Politics recently asked Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran about plans to backfill the chief operating officer role under him that was vacated by McKenna earlier this year.
Foran said for now he has split the COO duties between two executives, but longer term the position will likely be filled permanently. He said with more than 5,700 U.S. stores to call on McKenna is missed on the U.S. side of the business, but the international side has gotten a great leader. Both Ibbotson and McKenna came to the U.S. from Asda in recent years.