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Walmart names new U.S. CEO
June 29th, 2010
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart has reshuffled its top executive ranks, naming Bill Simon president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S. and Eduardo Castro-Wright, who previously ran the discount store giant's U.S. business, president and CEO of global.com and global sourcing.
Simon, 50, had been executive vice president and chief operating officer of Walmart U.S. Castro-Wright, 55, will continue to serve as vice chairman.
Walmart said Tuesday that Simon will assume his new responsibilities immediately, while Castro-Wright will be transitioning to his new role through Aug. 1. Both will report directly to Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke.
Simon has made a big impact since joining Walmart as executive vice president of specialty divisions in March 2006. He oversaw the rollout of Walmart's $4 generic drug program, which altered the landscape of retail pharmacy and changed the way generic drugs are marketed and sold in this country.
Since 2007, Simon has been COO of the Walmart U.S. division, spearheading Project Impact, a comprehensive effort to position Walmart for future domestic growth with improved merchandising and more shopper-friendly store environments.
"Bill is a strong leader who has made a positive difference from his first day at Walmart," Duke said in a statement. "He's been responsible for successfully running more than 3,700 stores and leading 1.3 million associates in the U.S. Bill transformed the customer experience at Walmart through faster service, a friendlier shopping environment and cleaner stores. He also helped develop and launch our game-changing $4 prescription drug program and has continued to drive innovation and improvement throughout Walmart U.S. He is a talented strategist and an excellent people manager with strong execution skills."
Duke also noted the importance of global.com and global sourcing to Walmart's expansion worldwide and how Castro-Wright's experience and foresight will play a pivotal role.
"As we continue to become a truly global company and address the business challenges of a rapidly changing world, it is clear that global.com and global sourcing are critical to our future growth and success," Duke stated. "We are fortunate to have someone as strategic and knowledgeable as Eduardo leading the teams to drive these initiatives forward at a faster pace. Appointing him to this role demonstrates our commitment and the importance we assign to these areas and to building the next generation Walmart, while also allowing Eduardo to relocate to California to be with his family during his wife’s illness."
Duke, too, lauded Castro-Wright's contributions during the past five years, which include several major initiatives that have transformed or continue to transform Walmart's operations, merchandising and marketing. "He is a visionary thinker who has strengthened our overall business and built a foundation that positions us well for the future," Duke added.
Walmart is the No. 3 retail pharmacy operator in terms of dollar volume, with an estimated $19.63 billion in pharmacy sales, according to Chain Drug Review's 2009 Annual Report of Retail Pharmacy. The discounter is the No. 4 operator by pharmacy count, with 4,150 pharmacies.