Wal-Mart Shifts John Fleming From CMO Post

Will Be Replaced by Stephen Quinn

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Following a series of major marketing missteps, Wal-Mart today said it's reorganizing its merchandising and marketing operations. But rather than cleaning house, the retailer's promoting two of its top marketing executives, John Fleming and Stephen Quinn, to new roles.
Wal-Mart CMO John Fleming will now oversee merchandising.
Wal-Mart CMO John Fleming will now oversee merchandising.

Mr. Fleming, previously chief marketing officer, will become chief merchandising officer overseeing four of the retailer's five merchandising divisions. He will be replaced in the top marketing role by Mr. Quinn, who will take on the role of exec VP-CMO. Mr. Quinn was formerly senior VP-marketing.

Month after firestorm
The moves, which come just over a month after the firestorm caused by the ouster of marketing executive Julie Roehm, should put to rest any skepticism about whether Messrs. Fleming and Quinn would survive the ordeal. Advertising Age first reported on Wal-Mart's plans for a shake-up last month.

The reorganization comes just weeks after Wal-Mart concluded its $580 million review with the selection of Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency and Publicis Groupe's MediaVest. An earlier review led by Ms. Roehm was overturned by Wal-Mart after her dismissal, leaving her choices, Interpublic's DraftFCB and Aegis Group's Carat, out in the cold.

Mr. Fleming is known to have played a lesser role in the second review, which was run by Mr. Quinn and Wal-Mart Stores U.S. President-CEO Eduardo Castro-Wright, according to executives familiar with the process. Grocery, entertainment, apparel and home divisions will report into Mr. Fleming, a former Target executive. The fifth merchandising division -- pharmacy and optical -- will continue to report to Bill Simon, exec VP-professional services and new business development.

Watts' role pared back
Claire Watts, exec VP-merchandising and the woman who led Wal-Mart's excursion into higher-end apparel, will see her role pared back to solely overseeing apparel. She now reports to Mr. Fleming.

The new leadership will be charged with pulling Wal-Mart out of a period of same-store sales declines that have riled investors and analysts.
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