WAL-MART SHUFFLES EXECS
Byline: Evan Clark
NEW YORK — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Friday reorganized its executive ranks, making a series of moves that include the promotion of Don Harris to executive vice president of the Wal-Mart division, with responsibility for the merchandising of all apparel.
Harris, currently executive vice president and chief operating officer of domestic Wal-Mart stores, will succeed Robert Connolly as executive vice president and general merchandise manager with responsibility for Wal-Mart’s domestic general merchandise programs including the apparel category. He has 21 years of experience with Wal-Mart, working his way up the ranks from trainee buyer and senior buyer to divisional merchandise manager. In addition to apparel, his duties will include the supervision of electronics and toys merchandising.
Connolly was appointed executive vice president of marketing and communications for the entire company. His predecessor, Paul Higham, who held the title of senior vice president, will retire from the company at the end of the fiscal year on Jan. 31.
Jim Haworth, currently executive vice president of operations for the Sam’s Club division, will succeed Harris as executive vice president and chief operating officer of domestic Wal-Mart stores.
Harris, Connolly and Haworth report to Thomas Coughlin, president and chief executive officer of the Wal-Mart unit. All appointments take effect Aug. 1.
Doug Degn, executive vice president, food merchandise, picked up additional responsibility for Wal-Mart’s consumable product categories including health and beauty aids.
The promotions underline the Bentonville, Ark.-based firm’s strategy of drawing upon its own management talent.
A.G. Edwards & Sons equity analyst Robert Buchanan said: “Merchandising has been very effectively managed by Bob Connolly. I would note significant improvement over the past several years under his management in women’s apparel, where they have added in both fashion and quality.”