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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal­mart has hired health care industry veteran Sean Slovenski to serve as senior vice president of health and wellness at Wal­mart U.S. He reports directly to Wal­mart U.S. president and chief executive officer Greg Foran.

“Sean is a proven leader and entrepreneur with an established track record in defining and building businesses within the health care industry,” Foran wrote in an internal Walmart email. “Previously Sean served as president of the Population Health division for Healthways, one of the nation’s largest and most awarded population health and wellness companies with more than $700 million in annual revenue. Sean has also served as CEO of Care Innovations, an Intel-GE joint venture company, and was vice president of innovation at Humana. I am delighted to bring such an experienced executive on board to lead a critical area of our business.

“Health and wellness is a complex and dynamic industry, and I believe we have an important role to play in making health care more affordable and accessible for our customers. Because of its strategic importance, we’ve decided to put more focus on our health and wellness business in the near term.”

Marybeth Hays, who currently oversees the health and wellness business at Walmart U.S., is “fully engaged in this transition,” Foran said, promising to share more details about her new responsibilities at a later date. Latriece Watkins will continue to lead Walmart U.S.’ consumables business, and will report to chief merchandising officer Steve Bratspies.

Reporting to Slovenski will be Paul Beahm, senior vice president of health and wellness operations; Cory Gundberg, senior vice president of health and wellness — lead in pharmacy; Sandy Ryan, vice president of clinics and quality; Luke Kleyn, vice president of payer relations; Marcus Osborne, vice president for health and wellness transformation; Jinali Desai, vice president and divisional merchandise manager, pharmaceutical merchandising; and Mony Iyer, who joined Walmart on July 23 as vice president for optical.

The appointment of a former Humana senior executive to run Walmart’s U.S. health care business comes amid signals that Walmart and Humana are looking to strengthen their partnership. Walmart currently has a co-branded Medicare drug plan with Humana that helps drive traffic to Walmart pharmacies. And Reuters reported in March that Walmart and Humana were discussing deeper ties, including a possible acquisition of Humana by Walmart.

Slovenski spent two years with Humana, ended in September 2013, and before that he spent a year as CEO of HumanaVitality, a joint venture between Humana and the Vitality Group, a subsidiary of Discovery Holdings of South Africa.

Most recently Slovenski was president of the population health business at Healthways, which is now a part of Sharecare Inc., a company that has partnered with Walmart on employee and customer health initiatives.