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Wal-Mart Shuffles Top Managers
posted by admin on 26/06/06

Continuing the company’s practice of executives rotation to broaden their expertise. 

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. shuffled several top managers, continuing a practice of challenging its executives by shifting them to new departments. 

The highest-profile move is Lawrence Jackson's promotion to chief executive officer of the retailer's global procurement unit, which oversees Wal-Mart's purchasing of goods in 28 countries. He had been executive vice president of the human-resources division. The procurement job has been vacant since last year, when Ken Eaton left, and Wal-Mart is expanding its scope under Mr. Jackson. 

The division is critical to Wal-Mart's efforts to bolster its profit margins by buying goods directly from overseas suppliers. "What this shows us is a bigger commitment to global procurement," said Adrianne Shapira, an analyst with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. "They talked about tripling it over the next three to five years. The last we had heard was that it was under 10% [of Wal-Mart's purchasing], so tripling that is an ambitious goal." 

Mr. Jackson came to the Bentonville, Ark., retailer in 2004 from dollar-store operator Dollar General Corp., where he was president and CEO. Before that, he worked for Safeway Inc. and PepsiCo Inc. 

To fill Mr. Jackson's previous post, Wal-Mart named Susan Chambers, previously executive vice president of risk management and benefits administration, to executive vice president of the human-resources unit. 

Filling Ms. Chambers's former job will be Linda Dillman, previously Wal-Mart's chief information officer. Ms. Dillman also will oversee Wal-Mart's sustainability efforts aimed at environmental responsibility and resource conservation. Succeeding Ms. Dillman is Rollin Ford, who as executive vice president of logistics and supply chain had overseen the first stages of Wal-Mart's Remix program, aimed at moving fast-selling goods through its distribution system more quickly. Succeeding in Mr. Ford's old job is Johnnie Dobbs, who as senior vice president of logistics oversaw the retailer's distribution centers in the Eastern U.S. 

Wal-Mart's practice of continually shuffling its top ranks originated with late founder Sam Walton, who called it "cross-pollenization" -- challenging officers to broaden their expertise, making them better candidates for higher roles. 

Write to Kris Hudson at

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