Walmart chief marketing officer exits; marketing team regroups

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 3,890 views 

Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for Walmart for the past year, is leaving the company effective Aug. 30. She is planning to return to the San Francisco Bay Area where she previously headed up marketing at TripAdvisor.

The news of Messing’s departure was announced by Walmart chief customer officer Janey Whiteside in a memo to the marketing team. Whiteside credited Messing with “memorable and effective creative campaigns that reached our customers in new and unexpected ways.”

“She [Messing] has been an advocate for our customers, encouraging our teams to think differently about how to reach them outside of traditional advertising avenues to truly tell one holistic Walmart story,” Whiteside wrote in the memo.

Whiteside said Michael Francis, a former Target and Dreamworks chief marketing exec, will join Walmart to help lead the company’s marketing team transformation in the interim. Whiteside said Francis has been working as a consultant for Walmart since late 2015 and the move will bring him on full-time.

Whiteside said Walmart is also searching for a new chief marketing officer and a senior vice president of marketing to lead the newly created team that will report to the CMO.

The memo also outlined additional personnel changes to the new retail marketing team. Whiteside said with Messing’s departure, Walmart’s marketing operations team will now report to Rich Lehrfeld, who joined Walmart in June from American Express. His position is senior vice president of brand marketing, creative and media.

“We were able to find some synergies within the organization” with moves in the marketing department, Whiteside wrote in the memo.

Brittney Duke, daughter for former Walmart CEO Mike Duke, had been over marketing operations as a vice president. She will be going to the new retail marketing team as a vice president for general merchandise marketing.

David Echegoyen, who in June began overseeing marketing for grocery, pickup and delivery, services and digital acceleration, will become part of that team as well. Other promotions include Ciara Anfield, who is moving from senior director-store experience marketing to vice president for consumables marketing.

Karissa Price, who had been senior director of health and wellness marketing, is being promoted to vice president over the same area. Alvis Washington, vice president of store experience marketing, will also join the retail marketing team, according to the memo.

Whiteside joined Walmart the same time as Messing. Whiteside offices in Hoboken, N.J., while Messing is based in Bentonville. Whiteside reports jointly to Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran in Bentonville and Walmart U.S. eCommerce CEO Marc Lore in Hoboken.

The marketing department has been revamped at least three times in the past four years with the departure of Stephen Quinn in late 2015. Tony Rogers came on board to lead the department until last year when he went to Sam’s Club. Whiteside and Messing joined Walmart a year ago to head up the department. Now, a fourth chief marketing officer will be named with the next hire.