Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will promote Judith McKenna to the role president and CEO of Walmart International, the mega-retailer’s second-largest operating segment, effective Feb. 1. Currently EVP and COO of Walmart U.S., McKenna succeeds David Cheesewright, who has led the International division since 2014 and plans to retire from a full-time position. She will report to Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon.
“During his 19 years with the company, David has served in a number of key leadership roles in our company,” noted McMillon. “He has built a reputation as an insightful strategic thinker with a track record of delivering consistent, profitable growth. He has been instrumental in strengthening our business across the globe. He’s a passionate advocate for our people, culture and purpose around the world.”
Cheesewright will stay on with Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart full-time through March and then work for the company, on a limited basis, with specific projects for a longer period of time.
“I’ve had the pleasure to work with Judith for many years and have seen first-hand her ability to lead strategic change, build relationships with our associates and strengthen our business,” added McMillon, who once headed the International division himself, as did his predecessor, Mike Duke. “It has been inspiring to see her personal growth and the results she’s driven over the years. Her integrity, high expectations and passion for the business and our associates will ensure our continued success in International.”
“Being chosen to lead Walmart International truly is an honor, and I can’t think of a more exciting time to be in this part of the business,” said McKenna. “I look forward to building upon our progress to improve the experience for our customers and associates around the world.”
McKenna joined Walmart began in 1996 at Asda, the company’s U.K. division, where she was COO and CFO. McKenna also held the role of EVP of strategy and international development for Walmart International. In that capacity, she led several areas, among them international strategy, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, integration, global format development and purchase leverage.
Moving to the Walmart U.S. division in April 2014, McKenna was the business unit’s chief development officer, spearheading the strategy, development and growth of Walmart’s small-format business and the collaboration with Walmart.com to integrate digital commerce into brick-and-mortar stores. Subsequently, she was appointed to her expanded role as EVP and COO of Walmart U.S., with responsibilities for the retailer’s U.S. store operations, encompassing 4,500-plus retail locations.
Walmart’s International division sees more than 100 million customers every week in more than 6,200 retail units, operating outside the United States with 55 banners across 27 countries.
Walmart operates more than 11,600 stores under nearly 60 banners in 28 countries and ecommerce websites, employing about 2.3 million associates worldwide.