Walmart makes moves within exec merchandising team

Walmart is making moves within its executive merchandising team with a focus on improving sales in China.

Marybeth Hays (right), who was senior VP of home for Walmart U.S., was promoted to chief merchandising and marketing officer for Walmart China, reporting to Walmart China CEO Sean Clarke. She will replace John Furner, who will be coming back to the U.S. and filling a role yet to be announced, according to a staff memo sent by Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran, The City Wire reported.

"During this period, [Furner] centralized the buying functions to Shenzhen, and drove significant improvements in buying leverage and reduced organizational complexity," Clarke said in the memo. "All of this work has translated into tangible results: improved profitability and price leadership in the market, leading to consistent and significant share gains."

Hays will work closely with Scott McCall and Terry Price, two merchants based at Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. She has been with the company since 2009, when she started at a senior VP at Sam's Club.

Rick Hays (left) is also moving to China as his role switches from VP of hardware and paint to VP of general merchandise for Sam's Club China. He has been a merchant buyer at Walmart for 35 years.

In the final shift, Laura Wilkin, former senior VP of replenishment, is now senior VP of flow strategy and systems innovation. This leaves Scott Pleiman, senior VP of strategy, pricing, planning and modular development, with the added responsibility of replenishment.

Wilkin will lead the development of tools to enhance supply chain visibility and forecasting in an effort to improve product flow to stores.

A Walmart spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that these executive moves are routine personnel changes and unrelated to cost-cutting initiatives. Story