Wal-Mart Promotes Simon, Curran

by MR Magazine Staff

NEW YORK – Bill Simon has been named to the new post of chief operating officer of Wal-Mart Stores U.S. in an expansion of the Bentonville, Ark.-based discounter’s executive ranks.

Concurrently, Pat Curran has been named executive vice president of people for Wal-Mart U.S. Like Simon, she will continue to report to Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. unit, but Curran will be “collaborating closely” with Susan Chambers, corporate executive VP for people, according to a statement by Chambers.

“Our success depends on having the right talent in key leadership positions as we roll out each stage of our three-year plan,” Castro-Wright said. “Earlier this year, we named a new chief merchant and a new chief marketing officer. Today’s announcement is one more step in solidifying the senior management team that will help us reach our business objectives.”

Simon has led Wal-Mart’s professional services business and most recently was responsible for the rollout of the company’s $4 generic drug program.

“He will now be expanding his focus to our entire Wal-Mart Stores U.S. business,” Castro-Wright commented.

In January, Wal-Mart named John Fleming chief merchant and Stephen Quinn chief marketing officer.

Five operations presidents with responsibility for more than 3,400 stores will report to Simon, who will retain responsibility for the professional services group, including pharmacy and optical. Asset protection and in-store medical clinics also fall under her purview.

His resume includes work with Brinker International, Diageo PLC, Cadbury-Schweppes, PepsiCo and RJR-Nabisco. He was appointed secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services by former Governor Jeb Bush.

Curran has been with Wal-Mart since 1983, when she joined as an hourly associate in the pets department, and moved up the ladder to become a regional VP and divisional merchandise manager. She was promoted to senior VP of store operations in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast areas in 2003. She was credited with strengthening Wal-Mart’s community involvement and advancing its diversity initiatives.

In its announcement of the promotions, Wal-Mart noted that, under its new management structure, “the company established local human resources managers in each of 343 markets, created Wal-Mart University, and initiated activities to support change management and drive associate engagement.”