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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has hired Neil Ashe as the new president and CEO of its global e-commerce business. Ashe’s most recent position was president of CBS Interactive, in which capacity he headed all online properties and also drove development of new ways to distribute programming produced by the company and its subsidiaries.
Ashe succeeds Eduardo Castro-Wright who is retiring in September. Castro-Wright is assisting in the transition.
According to Mike Duke, president and CEO of Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart, which has more than 10,000 retail units under 69 banners in 28 countries: “We are on track to create the next generation of e-commerce, combining the latest in online innovations with physical stores to give our customers a unique and seamless shopping experience. … We have an understanding of what these customers want, a trusted brand, 200 million weekly shoppers, more than 10,000 stores around the world, and the ability to make significant investments in talent and technology. We also have successful online businesses, including in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Brazil. With all of this, it is clear that Walmart is the best-positioned retailer to deliver this multichannel experience to consumers, many of whom are already connected to the world through smartphones and social media.”
Added Duke: “With his strong personal leadership skills, financial background and experience in successfully working within a major corporation to lead its Internet division, Neil is the ideal leader to help us build this business. He has led companies through all stages of growth and maturity. He also has a deep understanding of the interactive space and how to attract and convert online customers. Perhaps most importantly, much of Neil’s professional success has come through close collaboration and shared goals with his peers -- a key attribute as we continue to integrate our online businesses across the company and with our physical stores.”
“Growing up in east Tennessee, I have seen first-hand the difference [Walmart] can make in the lives of its customers,” noted Ashe. “E-commerce gives us a huge opportunity to expand and bring savings to many more people around the world. We have great things ahead of us.”
As president of San Francisco-based CBS Interactive, Ashe headed up the interactive content business with operations in the United States, Europe and China. After guiding the successful integration of CNET Networks with CBS, he and his team leveraged existing company assets to ramp up CBS entertainment content distribution online, including making CBS.com the largest television network site in the industry.
Before this, Ashe was CEO of CNET Networks, founded a company focused on using the Internet to improve K-12 education in the United States, was a partner and managing director at private investment firm Crest Communications Holdings, and an associate at new York-based Smith Barney, the investment bank that's now part of Citigroup.
Over the past year, Walmart has made investments in capabilities and talent as it continues to develop its global e-commerce business. The company has also further bolstered its position through the acquisition of small Internet specialty companies and continues to expand in new markets such as China and Brazil, including a minority stake in Chinese Internet retailer Yihaodian.