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Walmart’s Bratspies out; McCall appointed CMO

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal­mart is making changes to its executive team after the 2019 holiday season.

The retailer announced earlier this month that chief merchant Steve Bratspies is leaving the company. Bratspies has been the company’s chief merchandising officer for more than four years, a key role that oversees product selection and pricing in its U.S. stores, according to the company.

He will be replaced by Scott McCall, another company veteran, who recently has overseen the company’s U.S. entertainment and toys ­business.

McCall began his career with Walmart as an hourly management trainee at store 1074 in Grenada, Miss., more than 25 years ago. He later moved here in an operational role for Walmart before becoming a merchandise buyer.

He has come up through a series of merchandising roles that have included time as a buyer in lawn and garden; vice president in hardware and toys; and senior vice president in consumables, health and wellness, and home. Prior to his current position, he most recently served as senior vice president for entertainment, toys and seasonal, where he led all merchandising activities for toys, seasonal, celebrations, media and gaming, consumer electronics, wireless and photo.

McCall graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor of science in administrative management.

The retailer also named Dacona Smith as chief operating officer for the Walmart U.S. unit, filling a role that had been vacant since the former chief operating officer, Judith McKenna, became head of Walmart’s international division in 2018. Smith has worked for Walmart for 30 years, the memo said, most recently as COO of the company’s Sam’s Club chain.

Replacing Smith at Sam’s Club is Lance de la Rosa, another company veteran.

In a statement, Bratspies declined to discuss his plans after 14 years at Walmart, saying “it’s time for a new challenge.”

Walmart often makes major executive changes before the end of its fiscal year on January 31. This year’s shuffle follows the exit of the head of its U.S. business, Greg Foran.

Foran said in October that he would leave on January 31 to take over as chief executive of Air New Zealand. The New Zealand native led a turnaround in the company’s U.S. business by pulling back on store openings and investing to remodel existing stores. He was replaced by former Sam’s Club chief John Furner.

The company’s chief merchant for its U.S. e-commerce operations, Ashley Buchanan, left Walmart last month to become CEO of craft retailer Michaels Cos.

Walmart is scheduled to report its fourth quarter results, including holiday sales, in February.


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