Walmart Reshuffles Executive Decks
Significant executive moves are in motion at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Steve Bratspies, most recently EVP of food for Walmart U.S., has been elevated to chief merchandising officer for U.S. stores, effective Oct. 19, while Brett Biggs, currently EVP and CFO of Walmart's International division, has been named to succeed Charles Holley as CFO of when the latter retires on Dec. 31.
Additional leadership changes at Walmart include the appointment of Charles Redfield to the position of EVP of food for Walmart U.S., and John Furner to the role of EVP, merchandising for Sam's Club, Redfield's previous position. Furner's latest role was chief merchandising and marketing officer at Walmart China.
In his new post, Bratspies will oversee all merchandise categories across more than 4,500 stores in the U.S. business and will continue to report to Greg Foran, Walmart U.S. president and CEO.
"Steve is a true leader and an example of the rich talent that exists within the merchandise organization," noted Foran. "His outstanding merchandising instincts and commitment to innovation and price leadership will challenge the status quo to serve our customers better."
Credited for revamping Walmart's grocery aisles to enhance the fresh offerings and expand private brands and global sourcing capabilities in his most recent role as EVP of food, Bratspies join the world's largest retailer in 2005 and has held several leadership positions in marketing, dry grocery and general merchandise. Before Walmart, Bratspies was chief marketing officer for Specialty Brands, and held roles in finance, new ventures and marketing at Frito-Lay, as well as consulting posts with A.T. Kearney and Andersen Consulting.
“Walmart is known for its world-class merchandising organization,” said Bratspies. "From the buyers and replenishment managers to our merchandise operations experts, it’s a dedicated team with a commitment to serving customers that I’m honored to lead.”
Looking ahead, Bratspies said that he intends to "continue our relentless focus on our customers – we’ll move with speed and conviction to ‘super-serve’ the millions who shop Walmart. We will stay true to our mission by strengthening our commitment to everyday low prices, optimizing our assortment and winning at omni-channel retailing through strong partnerships with suppliers and a continued investment in our associates."
Meanwhile, Biggs will assume his new role on Dec. 31. He will work closely with the retiring Holley, wWalmart’s EVP and CFO since December 2010, who will stay on until Jan. 31, 2016, to help with the transition.
Since January 2014, Biggs has held the role of Walmart International CFO, in which capacity which he was responsible for international strategy and finance activities, including business planning and analysis, financial services, and support for real estate and mergers and acquisitions. Biggs will report to Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon.
"Brett is strong leader whose broad experience uniquely qualifies him to lead our finance and strategy areas," said McMillon. "Having had a variety of important roles in all three of Walmart's business segments, Brett is well prepared. He thoroughly understands Walmart's operations, how we intend to compete in a dynamic and changing retail environment, and how we can best serve customers, associates and shareholders."
McMillon also praised Charles Holley, who oversaw the retailer's global finance and strategy areas during a period of immense company growth and change. "He has been instrumental in shaping Walmart's strong financial position while driving significant shareholder returns. One of Charles' strengths is also talent development and succession planning. Under his leadership, Walmart's finance function has transformed into a best-in-class organization that is both strong and deep, highlighted by [the] appointment of Brett as our new CFO."
Previously, Biggs was CFO of Walmart U.S. from January 2012 until January 2014, and SVP, Sam's Club operations, from September 2010 until January 2012. Before that, he held a variety of roles after joining the company in 2000, among them SVP and CFO of Sam's Club, SVP corporate finance and assistant treasurer, and SVP, international strategy and mergers and acquisitions. Earlier in his career, Biggs worked on the mergers and acquisitions team at Leggett & Platt Inc., and was an accountant at Phillips Petroleum Co., now ConocoPhillips, and an auditor at Pricewaterhouse LLP, now PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. He is a certified public accountant.
In yet more executive moves at the company, citing an internal company memo, GreenBiz has reported that Laura Phillips, SVP, GMM at Walmart, will become the mega-retailer's SVP of sustainability on Jan. 1, 2016, replacing Manuel Gomez, who has taken a new position with Walmart de Mexico and Central America as VP of strategy for e-commerce.
Walmart operates 11,532 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries, and e-commerce websites in 11 countries, employing more than 2 million associates worldwide.