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Longtime Publix exec announces retirement

BY Mike Troy

LAKELAND, Fla. — An executive who played a key role in helping Publix deliver on its “where shopping is a pleasure” brand promise has stepped down after nearly half a century with one of the nation’s best supermarket operators.
 
David Bridges, VP of fresh product business development at Publix will retire effective Jan. 1, 2016 and his role will be filled by Chris Litz who currently serves as a regional director of Publix Atlanta Division.
 
Bridges’ career at Publix began in 1966 when the retailer had roughly 100 stores and its operations were concentrated in Florida. He began at a store in the retailer’s hometown of Lakeland, Florida, as a front service clerk. He became a store manager in 1981 and in 1987 he became a district manager. In 1994 he was promoted to Lakeland Division regional director and to vice president of retail business development in 2000. The following year he was named to the role of VP of fresh product business development, a position he held for the past 14 years. Today, Publix operates roughly 1,100 stores across six states.
 
“David (Bridges) has been a dedicated Publix associate and an integral part of the growth of our fresh and meals departments. He has a passion for providing premier service to his customers and for the training, development and advancement of his team. We will miss David and wish him well as he begins the next chapter of his life,” said Publix president Todd Jones.
 
Bridges’ successor, Chris Litz, joined Publix in 1987 as a store clerk. He became a store manager in 1995 and Lakeland Division district manager in 2000. He was promoted to director of warehousing in 2007 and his current position in 2010.
 
“Chris’s experience in retail and support makes him an ideal candidate for this leadership position,” said Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw. “His knowledge of both facets of our operations will continue to move our fresh retail business units forward.”
 
Litz will report to senior VP Dave Bornmann who has responsibility for grocery and customer service business development, which Publix says allows for insight across the center and perimeter of the store and the front end operations.
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Walmart, Sam’s Club name new chief merchants

BY Mike Troy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — On the same day that it announced a new CFO, Walmart has filled its empty chief merchant spot and named other executives to key leadership roles within the organization, including a new head merchant at Sam’s Club.

Steve Bratspies was named chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S. stores, effective Oct. 19, 2015, filling a position that had been vacant since the departure of Duncan Mac Naughton a year ago. Bratspies will oversee all merchandise categories across more than 4,500 stores in the U.S. business and will continue to report Walmart U.S. president and CEO Greg Foran.

"Steve is a true leader and an example of the rich talent that exists within the merchandise organization,” said Foran. “His outstanding merchandising instincts and commitment to innovation and price leadership will challenge the status quo to serve our customers better.”

Most recently, Bratspies served as the executive vice president of food for Walmart U.S. where the retailer credited him with overhauling the retailer’s grocery aisles with a focus on improving its fresh offering and expanding its private brand and global sourcing capabilities. Bratspies joined the company in 2005, initially in a marketing role, and later transitioned to merchandising. Prior to joining Walmart, Bratspies served as chief marketing officer for specialty brands at Frito-Lay.

“Walmart is known for its world-class merchandising organization. From the buyers and replenishment managers to our merchandise operations experts, it’s a dedicated team with a commitment to serving customers that I’m honored to lead,” Bratspies said. “Going forward, we’ll continue our relentless focus on our customers – we’ll move with speed and conviction to ‘super-serve’ the millions who shop Walmart. We will stay true to our mission by strengthening our commitment to everyday low prices, optimizing our assortment and winning at omnichannel retailing through strong partnerships with suppliers and a continued investment in our associates.”

Bratspies promotion created an opportunity for Walmart to shift Charles Redfield from his role and Sam’s Club’s executive vice president of merchandising to the role of executive vice president of food for Walmart U.S. Redfield joined Sam’s Club in 1988 as a cashier and moved up the ranks to serve in several operational and merchandising leadership roles, including chief merchandising officer at Asda.

Filling Redfield’s role, is long time Sam’s merchant John Furner. He was previously serving as chief merchandising and marketing officer at Walmart China.e

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Walmart names new CFO

BY Mike Troy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — After more than two decades in top finance roles at Walmart, Charles Holley, 59, is stepping down as CFO at the world’s largest retailer.
 
Succeeding Holley will be Brett Biggs, a well-rounded finance executive who joined Walmart in 2000 and has held key roles in each of the retailer’s divisions.
 
“Brett is a strong leader whose broad experience uniquely qualifies him to lead our finance and strategy areas,” said Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon. “Having had a variety of important roles in all three of Walmart’s business segments, Brett is well prepared. He thoroughly understands Walmart’s operations, how we intend to compete in a dynamic and changing retail environment and how we can best serve customers, associates and shareholders.”
 
Since January 2014, Biggs has served as executive VP and CFO of Walmart International. Prior to that, Biggs served as CFO Walmart U.S. from January 2012 until January 2014, and as senior VP of Sam’s Club operations, from September 2010 until January 2012. Biggs joined Walmart in 2000 and served in a variety of roles including senior VP and CFO of Sam’s Club, senior VP corporate finance and assistant treasurer, and senior VP, international strategy and mergers and acquisitions.

Prior to joining Walmart, Biggs worked at Leggett & Platt on its mergers and acquisitions team. Prior to that, he was an accountant at Phillips Petroleum Company, now ConocoPhillips, and an auditor at Pricewaterhouse LLP, now PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
 
In succeeding Holley, Biggs replaces an executive McMillon credited with guiding Walmart global finance and strategy areas during a period of immense growth and change.
 
“He has been instrumental in shaping Walmart’s strong financial position while driving significant shareholder returns,” McMillon said of Holley. “One of Charles’ strengths is also talent development and succession planning. Under his leadership, Walmart’s finance function has transformed into a best in class organization that is both strong and deep, highlighted by today’s appointment of Brett as our new CFO.”
 
Holley joined Walmart in 1994 and became CFO in 2010 and also served as CFO of the international division. He also held roles as executive VP, finance and treasurer, chief risk officer, controller and senior VP of finance over accounting, tax, financial reporting and investor relations.

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