Asda boss heads to US to link up with Walmart

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Asda’s chief operating officer Judith McKenna is to move to the US following a promotion to Asda’s parent company Walmart.

Ms McKenna will take on the role of executive vice president, strategy and international development and will report directly to Doug McMillon, CEO and president of Walmart International.

She will relocate to Bentonville in April where she will be in charge of strategy, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, integration and purchase leverage.

Asda’s chief executive Andy Clarke said: “Judith’s operational and finance experience mean she is perfectly placed to help shape the future of the international division in this role.

“This is great news for Judith but also another example of Asda exporting talented leaders to play key roles across the world for Walmart. We are a global centre of excellence and Judith joins a growing list of Asda colleagues who have chosen to develop their careers internationally.”

Ms McKenna has spent over 17 years at Asda, helping the group to develop its multichannel, multiformat business.

She also oversaw the purchase and integration of the Netto business, which involved over 190 stores and 2,500 colleagues. “We would not have embraced technology in the way we have had it not been for her vision and courage to push the button on grocery Click and Collect, to install free WiFi in all our stores, and, of course, issue iPads to our general store managers,” said Mr Clarke.

Her role will not be replaced, but will be split among three directors.

Retail operations director Mark Ibbotson will be promoted to the executive team as retail director.

“Operations, including retail and distribution will move to Mark, including full accountability for the grocery home shopping business, and the fulfilment and delivery of all our Click and Collect operations across our dotcom businesses,” said Mr Clarke.

Karen Hubbard’s remit will be widened to include multichannel strategy and Asda Direct, sitting alongside her accountability for retail development and in-store proposition.

“Karen has a track record of creating innovative retail formats and in my view there is no-one better placed than her to lead that charge,” said Mr Clarke.

Chief marketing officer Steve Smith will take control of the financial services business.

“Steve has made a huge impact since joining us last summer and will accelerate the development of Asda Money taking it to the next level,” said Mr Clarke.

All the executive changes take effect from January 28.