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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has promoted Judith McKenna to COO for Walmart U.S., succeeding Gisel Ruiz, who has been named EVP of the Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer's International People Division. Both appointments are effective immediately.
McKenna continues to report directly to Walmart U.S. president and CEO Greg Foran, while Ruiz now reports to Walmart International President and CEO David Cheesewright.
"One of the great things about Walmart is the depth and breadth of talent at all levels of our organization," noted Foran of the appointments. "Around the globe, we have some of the best leaders in retail because of our focus on developing talent and our commitment to creating opportunities for diverse experiences."
McKenna joined Walmart almost 20 years ago as part of its Asda leadership team in the United Kingdom, in the positions of CFO and COO. She moved to Walmart International as EVP of strategy and international development, most recently holding the role of chief development officer for Walmart U.S. In her latest role, McKenna will head a team of 1.3 million associates, as well as continuing to oversee Walmart's small-format stores, development of new formats, expansion of Walmart services, and the integration of e-commerce into the retailer’s existing U.S. stores.
"At her core and by experience, Judith is a retailer who has made major contributions to our business throughout her career," said Foran. "Her knowledge of global best practices and her success in leading our associates around the world will help drive our Walmart U.S. business forward."
Ruiz began her Walmart career as a management trainee, garnering experience across roles in labor relations, operations and human resources. In her most recent position, that of COO for Walmart U.S., she led the company’s focus on boosting operational efficiencies, opened 400-plus new U.S. stores, and increased representation of women and people of color across operations leadership roles. As EVP of Walmart's International People Division, Ruiz will guide human resources strategy and priorities that reach more than 1 million associates in 26 countries.
"Gisel is an inspirational leader who has consistently contributed to Walmart's growth and success throughout her 22 years with the company," observed Cheesewright. "Her proven track record and unwavering commitment to our associates make her the perfect choice for this new role. The expertise and leadership that Gisel brings are needed as we take our International Division to the next level."
Walmart operates 11,156 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries, and e-commerce websites in 11 countries, employing more than 2 million associates worldwide.