Walmart has reportedly appointed Judith McKenna to head up its international unit, of which UK grocery chain Asda is a part.
According to Reuters, McKenna is to be promoted from her current role as chief operating officer of Walmart’s domestic operations in the US and will succeed David Cheesewright as international chief from February 1.
McKenna herself is a UK citizen and a veteran of Asda, where she served as both chief operating officer and finance chief before crossing the pond in 2014 to work at the headquarters of parent company Walmart.
While at Asda, McKenna was attributed for helping the grocery retailer to increase its online sales amid a fierce price war with the Big 4 chains as well as German discounters Aldi and Lidl.
McKenna’s impending promotion also places her a step closer to the top job at the world’s largest retailer: current chief executive Doug McMillon and his predecessor Mike Duke both once ran Walmart’s international unit.
While Walmart generates about a quarter of its sales from roughly 6300 stores outside the US, it isn’t the growth engine that it once was, especially with Asda’s run dismal financial results in the UK up until about mid-2017.
Earlier this week, Asda’s Christmas trading update indicated that it enjoyed a surprise 5.3 per cent sales boost, pushing it ahead of its Big 4 rivals.