More merchandising leadership, other management changes made at Walmart

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 10,451 views 

Walmart U.S. is again shaking up leadership in merchandising and eCommerce. Steve Breen is moving from eCommerce to the stores team as senior vice president of central merchandising where he will report to Scott Pleiman, according to two internal memos sent Monday (Oct. 8) to employees from Chief Merchandising Officer Steve Bratspies.

Breen will oversee all assortment, price, cost, replenishment and planning and have the responsibility for implementing Walmart’s new data and analytics operating model across the merchandising division, according to the memos obtained by Talk Business & Politics.

“The vision of the new model is to apply leading-edge analytical thinking, tools and resources against complex business problems. A key aspect of this new model is positioning data science resources inside the Central Merchandising division to create a tighter alignment to best solve complex business problems,” Bratspies explained in one memo.

“The expectation is that these new capability will bring a step-change to the efficiently and effectively of decision-making and foster new approaches to problem solving across the organization. Breen will closely partner with the core Merchandising and Merchandising Product Management teams to deliver on these high expectations,” Bratspies noted.

Breen joined Walmart in 2007 and managed the snack and beverage business for stores before moving to Brazil to serve as chief merchant in that business. He returned to the U.S. in 2015 to become chief merchant for In 2017, he was instrumental in the creation of the new eCommerce retail organization and the Jet acquisition, the memo stated.

“One of our competitive advantages as a global company is our strong talent pipeline and our ability to give our leaders new experiences. The strength of these opportunities makes Walmart the best place to grow a career in retail,” Bratspies noted in the memo.

Breen will relocate to Bentonville for his new role.

Walmart has also promoted Kieran Shanahan to senior vice president of eCommerce retail for Everyday Living, where he will report to Scott Hilton in the Hoboken, N.J., office. Breen and Shanahan will begin their new roles effective Oct. 15.

A second memo from Bratspies outlined changes on tap for the merchandising division. Al Dominguez, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of snacks, is leaving the company after 12 years. Bratspies thanked Dominguez for his service and said Andrea Albright would return to merchandising to backfill the vacancy. Her new title will be senior vice president, general merchandise manager over snacks, beverage and impulse items. Albright will report to Charles Redfield. She has spent the past several years working in the human resources division, but got her start with Walmart in merchandising in 2005.

Walmart said a replacement for Albright will be named later. Bratspies said as Shanahan heads to eCommerce the company has selected Kevin Head to take over the division merchandise manager role of breakfast and baking, which Shanahan is vacating. Head will report to Megan Crozier. Head most recently served as senior director and divisional market manager in deli and foodservice.

Other management changes include:
• Ralph Clair was named vice president of merchandising operations snacks, beverage and impulse items.
• Diane Marshall was named vice president, divisional merchandise manager of sporting goods, and will report to Terry Pirie and Clair will report to Greg Hall.
• Melody Richard is joining the company from Coca-Cola to backfill the role as divisional merchandising manager for the baby category. Richard will report Latriece Watkins.
• Tom Ward will be promoted to the senior vice president in digital operations. He previously held a similar role as a vice president having started with Asda more than 10 years ago. Ward also led academy training for Walmart U.S. in recent years and his work was instrumental in the rollout of pickup grocery, the memo stated. Ward will continue to report to Mark Ibbotson. The promotion is effective Oct. 15.
• Alvis Washington is being promoted to vice president of marketing for store experience. He will report to Barbara Messing. Washington will oversee store experience strategy for physical and digital shopping. The promotion is effective Oct. 15.