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BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart said it has named Pam Kohn as its top perishables executive, replacing Bruce Peterson, who announced his resignation as s.v.p./g.m.m., perishables on Feb. 2.
"Kohn is moving from operations to take on a new opportunity in merchandising as senior vice president and general merchandise manager of our fresh food merchandising category," Karen A. Burk, Wal-Mart spokeswoman told Progressive Grocer.
Prior to her new post, Kohn presided over Wal-Mart's Southeast division as s.v.p., since 2005. She joined Wal-Mart in 2002 as v.p./global supply chain, and has also served as s.v.p./Neighborhood Markets.
Before joining Wal-Mart, she was s.v.p./non-perishables with the Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. She also previously held roles of increasing responsibility at Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion LLC, including buyer, director of merchandising, v.p./store operations and s.v.p./merchandising and marketing.
Kohn will have big shoes to fill in succeeding Peterson, whose 15-year run at Wal-Mart coincided with a period of unprecedented growth at the world's largest retailer. The chain had six supercenters when Peterson joined it in 1991, and it now operates more than 2,250 supercenters, as well as 116 Neighborhood Markets, 38 distribution centers and a West Coast consolidation facility.
Further, Wal-Mart's total sales have grown to over $300 billion today, from less than $50 billion when Peterson signed on with Wal-Mart.
Although his contract included a non-compete clause, Peterson told Progressive Grocer that he wanted to remain employed within the produce industry.
"After 15 years, I am moving on to other opportunities yet to be identified," said Peterson, who characterized his departure as "very amicable. I was afforded an opportunity to work in a different area of merchandising, but I'm really a 'food guy' at heart."
Commenting on his decision to pass on a new corporate career path, Peterson said, "It's very common for Wal-Mart to cross-pollinate executives, but I'm at a different stage in my career. I had no desire to become an executive vice president, where admittedly, having a more 'rounded' background from a merchandising standpoint had great appeal to me. But I've been in the food business all my life, and that's really where my heart is and is where I enjoy spending my time. I've been in my role a long time, and I think change is good."
-- Meg Major