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    Wal-Mart Makes More Senior Management Changes

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. said Friday it has created two new high-level positions at Wal-Mart Stores U.S. that will be filled by Bill Simon and Pat Curran, effective immediately. Simon has been named c.o.o., and Curran will become e.v.p. of people.

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. said Friday it has created two new high-level positions at Wal-Mart Stores U.S. that will be filled by Bill Simon and Pat Curran, effective immediately. Simon has been named c.o.o., and Curran will become e.v.p. of people.

    Both will continue reporting directly to Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and c.e.o. of Wal-Mart Stores U.S.

    In a phrase that he's used before, Castro-Wright said in a statement, "Our success depends on having the right talent in key leadership positions as we roll out each stage of our three-year plan."

    Castro-Wright noted that earlier this year, the company named a new chief merchant and a new chief marketing officer.

    "We made these moves to ensure we become even more responsive to our customers and our associates," Castro-Wright continued. "Bill Simon is a talented leader with broad experience in operations, administration, and sales. As leader of the Wal-Mart professional services business, Bill has proven he can drive innovation, growth, and profitability, as he demonstrated with our $4 generic drug program. He will now be expanding his focus to our entire Wal-Mart Stores U.S. business."

    All five operations presidents -- representing more than 3,400 stores -- will now report to Simon. He will also have responsibility for asset protection and the professional services group, which includes the pharmacy and optical businesses, and in-store medical clinics.

    Simon joined Wal-Mart from Brinker International, where he was s.v.p. of global business development, responsible for the growth of its portfolio of restaurants outside the U.S. Prior to this, he served as secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services, appointed by Governor Jeb Bush. Simon has also held senior management positions with top consumer brand companies such as Diageo PLC, Cadbury-Schweppes, PepsiCo, and RJR-Nabisco.

    Curran, whom Castro-Wright called "a strong leader, and natural and caring advocate for associates," began her career at Wal-Mart in 1983 as an hourly associate in the pets department, and then moved up the ranks to become a regional v.p. and then divisional merchandise manager. In 2003, she was promoted to s.v.p. of Wal-Mart store operations for the mid-Atlantic and Southeast areas.

    Friday's changes come just a week after Wal-Mart announced its vice chairman, John Menzer, would assume the responsibilities of chief administrative officer. The retailer also said last week that Castro-Wright, who had reported to Menzer, would now report directly to c.e.o. Lee Scott. That put all three company operating divisions -- Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, and International -- directly under Scott.

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