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Wal-Mart Top Execs Swap Roles

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Two of Wal-Mart's top brass are being promoted to vice chairman status while also trading duties, the world's largest retailer said on Friday. John Menzer, who has led Wal-Mart's international division, will oversee U.S. stores, and Mike Duke, who has headed up Wal-Mart's domestic stores, will lead the company's international division.

Wal-Mart has a long history of moving its executives around in the corporate line-up. In the early 1980s, Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton orchestrated his succession as c.e.o. of the retailer when he switched the roles of the company's two other top execs, with David Glass emerging as the new president and eventual heir to Walton's legacy.

"Mike has the ability and the management confidence to delegate responsibility to the best people in his organization, and develop and promote them. This new assignment will give us the opportunity to apply those skills to our overseas operations," said Wal-Mart c.e.o. H. Lee Scott, noting Duke's experience in logistics will help him in international markets.

"John will continue to accelerate changes in the largest segment of our business," Scott said. "During the last six years, he transformed Wal-Mart International into a well-organized, fast-growing, and profitable business."

Menzer also will lead a long list of other departments including real estate, logistics, information services, benefits, global procurement, financial services, store planning, and strategic planning. Observers have long speculated that Menzer will be the likely successor to Scott as c.e.o.

Other promotions Wal-Mart announced on Friday include:

-- Eduardo Castro-Wright, e.v.p. and c.o.o. of the domestic Wal-Mart Stores division, to president and c.e.o.
-- Pat Curran, divisional manager and s.v.p., to e.v.p. for store operations.
-- Greg Spragg, e.v.p. for Sam's Club operations, to e.v.p. for the division's merchandising and replenishment.
-- Greg Johnston, regional Sam's Club v.p., to e.v.p. for operations.
-- Mark Goodman was named e.v.p. of marketing and membership at Sam's Club.
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