Sam's Club Marketing Chief Leaves Warehouse Retailer

Departure Comes as Wal-Mart Unit's First National TV Ad Effort Rolls Out

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COLUMBUS, Ohio ( -- After 14 months on the job, Mark Goodman, who held the top marketing job at Wal-Mart's Sam's Club, has left the company.
The departure comes just weeks before Sam's Club's first national TV ad campaign.
The departure comes just weeks before Sam's Club's first national TV ad campaign.

First national ad effort
The exec VP-marketing, membership and e-commerce leaves just weeks into the division's first national TV advertising campaign from agency Strawberry Frog, a push that focused the division's advertising budget away from its small-business customer.

In August, Mr. Goodman, a former McDonald's Corp. executive, moved the account to the New York-based independent agency from Omnicom Group's GSD&M, Austin. That review was handled separately from the troubled $580 million Wal-Mart review.

The campaign was a bid to snare the attention of the mass-market shopper and aired on shows such as "Deal or No Deal" and National Football League games. It also touted the chain's new relationship with Mastercard that began Nov. 10.

Trailing Costco
Sam's Club has fallen behind fast-growing Seattle-based Costco, the No. 1 warehouse retailer in the U.S. Costco has 504 stores and nearly $59 billion in sales, compared with Sam's 550 stores and $39.8 billion in sales in 2006, accounting for 12.7% of Wal-Mart's sales in 2006.

Regarding Mr. Goodman's departure, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sarah Clark said in an e-mail: "Mark has moved on to pursue other interests. During Mark's time with Sam's Club, he contributed important new ideas to our marketing efforts and has helped move us toward becoming a more member-driven organization. We appreciate his service and past contributions to Sam's Club."

Mr. Goodman will be replaced, according to the company. Calls and e-mails to Scott Goodson, CEO of Strawberry Frog, were not returned at press time.

No review planned
"We don't have any plans to review the Strawberry Frog account decision at this time," Ms. Clark added.

Mr. Goodman joined the 550-store warehouse division of Wal-Mart in late September 2005, after nearly six years at McDonald's, where he held the title of VP-U.S. strategy and operations.
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