Walmart CMO Barbara Messing departing, Michael Francis to lead retail marketing

CMO Barbara Messing is departing Walmart at the end of August

An internal memo from Walmart released today (19 August) marks some "updates" to the marketing organization at the retailer, mainly that senior vice-president and chief marketing officer Barbara Messing will be leaving the company as of 30 August to “return to the Bay Area with her family.”

Messing joined last July from TripAdvisor, where she also served as chief marketer. She had replaced Tony Rogers, who left his post as marketing head to join Walmart-owned Sam’s Club as its chief member officer.

The memo states that Messing had been on a “path to organize the marketing team to best serve the changing needs of the business and our customers.” It goes on to say that Walmart is also announcing the creation of a new retail marketing team within the marketing organization, one created to “support merchandising and key initiatives across our stores and ecommerce business.”

To support that team, Walmart has tapped Michael Francis, who has been serving as a strategic consultant to the marketing team. He will now lead the retail marketing team in his consultant role.

Francis is a former Target chief marketer and DreamWorks chief global brand officer. His team will include others newly named to the retail marketing team, including Brittney Duke, who will join as vice-president, general merchandise marketing, and Alvis Washington, vice-president, store experience marketing.

Walmart is still searching for both a new chief marketing officer as well as a senior vice president of retail marketing, who will oversee the work of that team along with seasonal programs.

“During her time at Walmart, [Messing has] led both memorable and effective creative campaigns that reached our customers in new and unexpected ways," the memo wrote. "She’s been an advocate for our customers, encouraging our teams to think differently about how to reach them outside of traditional advertising avenues to truly tell one holistic Walmart story.”

Other Walmart promotions mentioned in the memo include: David Echegoyen, who will oversee marketing for grocery, pickup and delivery, services and digital acceleration; Ciara Anfield, senior director, store experience marketing, who is being promoted to vice-president, responsible for consumables marketing; and Karissa Price, senior director, health and wellness marketing, who is being promoted to vice-president, overseeing health and wellness marketing.

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