In order to strengthen its online presence, the retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ( WMT ) has named Neil Ashe as the President and Chief Executive Officer ( CEO ) of its global eCommerce business, effective immediately.
Ashe will replace the retiring Eduardo Castro-Wright, who will assist the new CEO in the transition process.
Until recently, Ashe served as the president of CBS Interactive, where he was responsible for handling all online properties and the development of innovative ways to distribute programming produced by the media giant and its subsidiaries. Prior to that, Ashe served as the CEO of CNET Networks, initially best known for providing technology-related information, product reviews and price comparisons through CNET.com.
In addition, Ashe bolstered the company's value from $100 million to $1.8 billion during his tenure. At the end, Ashe assisted in the sale of the company to CBS and became president of CBS Interactive at that time.
Wal-Mart, which is the sixth-largest Internet retailer, has been trying to build Global eCommerce for a year. It has also made investments in capabilities and talent, and has further strengthened its position through the acquisition of small Internet specialty companies and continues to expand in new markets such as China and Brazil, including a minority stake in Chinese Internet retailer Yihaodian.
Though Wal-Mart has not disclosed the sales percentage that comes from its online business, the company has already developed its online businesses in U.S., UK, Canada and Brazil.
Moreover, Wal-Mart has initiated a new unit called @WalmartLabs, through which Wal-Mart will be able to augment its sales from the proliferation of smartphones and social networking. In addition, Wal-Mart acquired the Vudu streaming video service and technology company Kosmix, demonstrating its commitment to e-commerce and goal of offering customers a unique shopping experience.
Wal-Mart has now been expanding its online business, and has also started inducting the more experienced people of stores of U.S. in charge of the websites in those countries. In addition, Wal-Mart has e-commerce teams in developed markets of U.S., U.K., Canada and Japan, which will report directly to the senior store leadership in those countries.
Wal-Mart, which faces stiff competition from the likes of Target Corp. ( TGT ) and Costco Wholesale Corporation ( COST ), has a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term Hold recommendation. Over the long-term, Wal-Mart has a Neutral recommendation on the stock.
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