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Judith McKenna leaving Asda for Walmart strategy role

Asda confirmed that Judith McKenna, its highly regarded chief operating officer, would be elevated to a strategy role within the international arm of parent Walmart.

Britain’s second-biggest supermarket chain by market share said on Friday that Ms McKenna, formerly its finance director and a rising star within the group, would become executive vice-president of strategy and international development at Walmart International. She will report to Doug McMillon, chief executive of the division.

Ms McKenna’s move, reported by the Financial Times on Thursday, opens up further opportunities for Ms McKenna within Walmart. It does not rule out a role within Asda at some point in the future.

Andy Clarke, chief executive of Asda, said: “Judith’s operational and finance experience mean she is perfectly placed to help shape the future of the international division in this role. She will help define international strategic growth, ensuring international markets work more effectively together across the company.”

He added: “This is great news for Judith but also another example of Asda exporting talented leaders to play key roles across the world for Walmart. We are a global centre of excellence and Judith joins a growing list of Asda colleagues who have chosen to develop their careers internationally.”

Asda said it would make several changes as a result of Ms McKenna’s move. Mark Ibbotson will move from operations to become retail director, while Karen Hubbard, who was instrumental in the integration of stores purchased from Netto, will take on multi-channel and Asda Direct. Steve Smith, chief marketing officer, will take on responsibility for financial services.

Dave McCarthy, analyst at Investec Securities, said: “This is a loss to Asda, but is good news for the competition, as we regard Ms McKenna as top drawer. We credit her with some significant improvements at Asda, as well as her keeping a tight financial control of that business.”

Source : Andrea Felsted – Financial Times

12 January 2013
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