Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville announced Wednesday that it will promote Judith McKenna to president and CEO of Walmart International, the company's second-largest operating segment.
McKenna, who is executive vice president and chief operating officer for Walmart U.S., begin her new duties Feb. 1. In the new post, McKenna will report to Wal-Mart President and CEO Doug McMillon.
"I've had the pleasure to work with Judith for many years and have seen first-hand her ability to lead strategic change, build relationships with our associates and strengthen our business," McMillon said in a news release. "It has been inspiring to see her personal growth and the results she's driven over the years. Her integrity, high expectations and passion for the business and our associates will ensure our continued success in International."
McKenna called being chose to lead the unit "an honor."
"I look forward to building upon our progress to improve the experience for our customers and associates around the world," she said.
The move elevates McKenna to a key position within the company. McMillon and his predecessor, Mike Duke, both held the role.
McKenna will succeed David Cheesewright, who has led the unit since 2014 and, according to Wal-Mart, "recently shared his desire to retire from a full-time role." Wal-Mart said Cheesewright will remain with the company full time through March and then serve the company on a limited basis on specific projects.
"During his 19 years with the company, David has served in a number of key leadership roles in our company," McMillon said. "He has built a reputation as an insightful strategic thinker with a track record of delivering consistent, profitable growth. He has been instrumental in strengthening our business across the globe. He's a passionate advocate for our people, culture and purpose around the world."
McKenna's began working for Wal-Mart in 1996 at Asda, the retailer's operation in the United Kingdon, where she was chief operating officer, chief financial officer and executive vice president of strategy and international development for Walmart International. She moved to Wal-Mart's U.S. division in April 2014, first as chief development officer and later as executive vice president and COO.
Wal-Mart said its international division serves more than 100 million customers every week in more than 6,200 retail units, operating outside the United States in 27 countries.