Walmart Sustainability Chief Tapped for 'Marketing Operations' Post

New Role Focuses on Local Initiatives to Support Store Operations

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Walmart's sustainability czar is moving to a new role working on local marketing initiatives, and the executive who headed last year's restage of the Great Value private-label brand will step in to take charge of sustainability for the nation's biggest retailer.

Matt Kistler, who has been senior VP-sustainability, will become senior VP-marketing operations, reporting to Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Quinn, in a new role focused on local marketing initiatives to support store operations.

In a memo to Walmart associates last week, William Simon, recently appointed CEO of Walmart U.S., said Mr. Kistler's role was created to "help us keep the customer at the center of our merchandise strategies."

Meanwhile, Andrea Thomas is taking Mr. Kistler's place as senior-VP sustainability, reporting to Leslie Dach, exec-VP, corporate affairs, as Mr. Kistler did. As senior-VP private brands, Ms. Thomas spearheaded last year's closely watched restage of Walmart's Great Value brand. In February, she shifted to overseeing private brands in another area as senior VP-hardlines, home and entertainment.

The new role for Mr. Kistler comes as store and regional managers in the operations group Mr. Simon formerly headed have gotten considerably greater leeway in how they merchandise and market their stores. Many of them have seized the opportunity to return a considerable amount of merchandise to aisles and give more prominence to regional brands.

The moves are part of a host of other appointments to fill out Walmart's merchandising teams following the resignation of former chief merchandising officer John Fleming in August and the reassignment of vice chairman and former U.S. CEO Eduardo Castro-Wright to oversee global sourcing and e-commerce.

Mr. Quinn remains in his CMO post, which, with the addition of Mr. Kistler, gets a new line overseeing marketing with the newly empowered store operations group.

Notable changes and additions in merchandising include the appointment of Duncan McNaughton, formerly chief merchandising officer for Walmart Canada, as exec-VP consumables, health, wellness and Walmart.com; the appointment of 17-year Walmart veteran Andy Barron as exec-VP softlines; Seong Ohm's return from Wal-Mart Stores' Seiyu unit in Japan to take Ms. Thomas' former post; and the promotion of former Procter & Gamble Co. brand manager and Abbott Nutrition executive Steve Breen to senior VP-snacks and drinks.

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