When Barbara Messing, Walmart’s chief marketing officer since July 2018, leaves the company Aug. 30, its marketing team will be overhauled, according to a memo cited in published reports.
Walmart Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside, who led the department with Messing, wrote in the memo that Michael Francis, a onetime marketing executive at Target and DreamWorks who has consulted for Walmart since 2015, will now join the mega-retailer full-time to help with the marketing team’s transformation while a new chief marketing officer is sought. The company is also searching for a candidate to fill the role of SVP of marketing to head up the newly created team that will report to the chief marketing officer.
Following Messing’s exit, Walmart’s marketing operations team will report to Rich Lehrfeld, SVP of brand marketing, creative and media, who came to Walmart in June from American Express.
Members of the new team will include Brittney Duke, daughter of former Walmart CEO Mike Duke as VP for general merchandise marketing, along with company executives David Echegoyen, VP omni grocery, digital acceleration and services marketing; Ciara Anfield, promoted to VP of consumables marketing; Karissa Price, promoted to VP of health and wellness marketing; and Alvis Washington, VP of store experience marketing.
As pointed out by Talk Business & Politics, this restructuring will mark at least the third overhaul of Walmart’s marketing department since Stephen Quinn left the company in late 2015.
In the memo, Whiteside described Messing as “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.”
Messing plans to return to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was formerly chief marketing officer at TripAdvisor.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries, and ecommerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. The company is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.