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Wal-Mart Reshuffles Management, Marketing Head to Retire

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.WMT continues to shuffle its management in the face of sluggish earnings. After the retirement of Charles Holley from the position of chief financial officer ("CFO") in October, Wal-Mart announced the retirement of its chief marketing officer on Dec 11.

Per media reports, Stephen Quinn, the chief marketing officer of Wal-Mart, plans to retire at the end of January. Quinn, aged 56, has been associated with Wal-Mart for almost a decade and led the company's rebranding in 2008 and has helped to develop the current logo and slogan, "save money, live better." Before joining Wal-Mart in 2005, Quinn spent 13 years at PepsiCo Inc. PEP , where he was the chief marketing officer of the Frito-Lay North America division. He also held various positions at Quaker Oats, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble Co. and Nortel.

This Bentonville, AR-based company has hired Michael Francis to serve as a consultant till the time a replacement for Quinn is found. Francis has previously worked as marketing executive at Target Corp. TGT , where he helped the company to attract more aspirational customers with its designer collaborations. After leaving Target in 2011, he worked at J.C. Penney Co. JCP . Currently, he is serving as global brand officer for DreamWorks Animation and has reportedly planned to step down.

The recent shuffling of posts comes as the retailer struggles to pull itself out of a U.S. sales slump and faces challenges to increase sales and attract new customers.

Further, Wal-Mart is facing intense competition on all fronts, ranging from dollar stores to the traditional grocery store chains and online business. It is also trying to keep pace with the rapidly changing behavior of shoppers.

Wal-Mart also anticipates huge expenses over the near term. In an effort to compete with the biggest online retailer Amazon.com, Inc. and to improve customer service, Wal-Mart is aggressively investing in its e-commerce business. The company has already pledged to spend $1 billion to raise employees' wages and give them extra training, which has raised the expense burden of the retailer. Higher labor costs along with the company's efforts to overhaul its stores and invest in its online operations have weighed on its earnings.

Wal-Mart is thus looking forward to work with Francis, as he will be helping out with marketing, advertising and figuring out ways for the discounter to engage with its customers. Wal-Mart has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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