Walmart streamlines merchandising division with one omnichannel team

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 10,662 views 

Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner and Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce, sent an internal email Tuesday (Feb. 25) to announce several changes to the merchandising division.

According to the memo obtained by Talk Business & Politics, the executives said the company has been talking about the need to be more customer-driven. The changes announced Tuesday will put the customer at the center of how the company buys and sells merchandise, regardless of whether the deals are conducted in stores or online.

In a series of steps, Furner and Lore said the company will create one omnichannel merchandising team. When complete, there will be six categories:

  • Apparel – led by Andy Barron (and sourcing for general merchandise and private brands.)
  • Consumables – led by Latriece Watkins
  • Entertainment, Toys and Seasonal – led by Jeff Evans
  • Food – led by Charles Redfield
  • Hardlines – led by Diana Marshall
  • Home – led by Anthony Soohoo

“Eventually, these six teams will buy every item sold by Walmart in the U.S. Consumables and food will start immediately, with these eCommerce teams joining the organizations led by Latriece Watkins and Charles Redfield,” the memo said.

Walmart said the other four areas will come together as the eCommerce fashion, entertainment, enthusiast and professional and home areas merge with the six categories listed above.

“We’ve asked Chandra Holt to serve as chief merchandising and integration officer for Walmart eCommerce, and lead the work that will create an omni-merchandising organization,” the memo said. “To start, Chandra’s organization will include Denise Incandela and Phillip Oakes, along with the entertainment and home leadership teams. The fashion group will also include Bonobos, with Micky Onvural joining Denise’s leadership team.”

Holt’s position is dual purpose, the memo said. She will continue driving e-commerce business results, while simultaneously working through the process of integrating the teams as each is ready. Holt and U.S. chief merchandising officer Scott McCall will work together on the pace of integration, along with the supporting functions who work with these teams. Holt and the six merchandising leads above, along with Scott Pleiman and John Laney, will report to McCall.

Furner said the new responsibilities also include promotions for Soohoo, Holt, Marshall and Evans to the role of executive vice president.

Lore said there will be an “exciting new opportunity” for Kieran Shanahan in Walmart International, as his positions are being consolidated as a result of Tuesday’s announcement. Walmart did not disclose Shanahan’s new role but said it will make that announcement later.

Shanahan has worked as interim manager for since the departure of president Simon Belsham last August. Shanahan also oversaw the food, consumables, and health and wellness categories for Walmart e-Commerce.

Furner and Lore said the moves will continue to bring the two organizations closer together and build on the work started two years ago with the creation of the customer organization and continued with the integration of supply chain and finance operations last year. As Walmart has done with the supply chain and customer organizations, merchandising will now report jointly to Furner and Lore.

“Our customers only see one Walmart, and they must be No.1, always,” the memo said.

Recently, Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon told investors the teams of Lore and Furner must work together cohesively to serve the changing demands of the customer. He said the customer will be served where and how they want and the company will only employ those who work together with a one Walmart attitude.

Furner and Lore also recently told investors they are each committed to the one Walmart model and looking for ways to streamline decision-making and operations for optimal effectiveness around serving the customer.

The memo also said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer for Walmart, shared details on Friday about the new product team. Meng Chee was tapped to lead a new team to design customer and employee experiences from start to finish with the end-user in mind.

Walmart also said Daniel Eckert will leave Walmart after 10 years. Eckert led services and digital acceleration at Walmart, having joined the company in January 2010 as vice president of financial services for Walmart U.S.