Stephen Smith has been named as the new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for leading UK supermarket chain Asda, it has been announced today.
Asda needed to replace Rick Bendel who has taken up a worldwide marketing role with its parent company Walmart, and Smith has been internally promoted to fill the position.
Since joining US-based retail giant Walmart in July 2011 Smith has served as its CMO for China, and prior to this he worked for over a decade for grocery retailer Delhaize group in both North America & Belgium.
Bendel and Smith will both assume their new responsibilities with immediate effect, but a handover process will be managed by Bendel while Smith transfer from China.
Andy Clarke, CEO of Asda, said: “I was delighted that Steve joined Walmart last year and will now bring his retail marketing pedigree to the UK.
“I’m been an admirer of Steve’s work at overseas Delhaize retail brands such as Sweetbay, Hannaford and Delhaize Le Lion, for many years and I’m certain he’ll be a valuable addition to the Asda executive team”.
During the last three years Bendel has juggled his marketing position at Asda with being International CMO for Walmart, making this move to focus purely on working with the US retailer a natural step.
Discussing Bendel’s change of role, Clarke commented: “Because this is a time of strength for Asda, it now seems the perfect time for Rick to do more to help shape Walmart’s worldwide marketing efforts and embark on the next exciting phase of his career.
“Few people in the history of our business have loved and understood Asda as well as Rick. His empathy for customers is equalled only by his advocacy for colleagues, and his ability to bring that alive through story-telling will be legendary for generations to come.”