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Rosalind Brewer, president and CEO of club store chain Sam's Club, will leave the company next month, to be replaced by Sam's EVP of Merchandising John Furner, Reuters reported.
Brewer, who has served as chief of the club store chain since 2012, is leaving the company to pursue “a new challenge,” according to a memo from Doug McMillon, CEO of Sam's parent, Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Her resignation is effective Feb. 1.
During her time at Sam's, Brewer, one of only a handful of African-American female chief executives in the United States, implemented a growth strategy focused on “exciting” and local merchandise, an expanded footprint, and technology and innovation, particularly e-commerce, Walmart said on its website. Fortune magazine noted that she made “large strides” in e-commerce via implementing click-and-collect and scan-and-go technologies, the latter of which allows shoppers to scan items with their phones. These features helped give Sam's a “rare advantage” over rival club chain Costco Wholesale Corp., based in Issaquah, Wash. She also played a role in helping to reposition Sam's as a destination for more affluent shoppers.
Brewer initially joined Sam's Bentonville, Ark.-based parent in 2006 as regional VP, overseeing operations in Georgia, Walmart said. She later rose to Southeast division president, and then president of Walmart East. Prior to joining Walmart, she spent 22 years at Neenah, Wis.-based personal care manufacturer Kimberly-Clark Corp.
Furner, as EVP of merchandising, oversaw all merchandising for Sam's, including global sourcing, packaging and private brands. Prior to that role, he was chief merchandising officer and chief marketing officer of Walmart China, where he oversaw merchandising, procurement, marketing, supply chain, financial services and mobile commerce for the hypermarket division. He joined Walmart as an hourly associate in 1993 before serving a number of roles with increasing responsibility.