Global retail leader Walmart disclosed this week that the company is seeking a senior executive to lead the retailer’s vast supply chain operations.

John Furner, Walmart’s chief executive for U.S. store operations issued an internal memo indicating that current supply chain operations chief Greg Smith is leaving: “to take an exciting opportunity outside the company.”

This development was first reported by Bloomberg yesterday. Smith’s last day will reportedly be April 4.

Smith has been with the retailer for about four years with a reputation for being a logistics veteran. His prior experiences were leading supply chain operations at Goodyear Tire and Rubber, and an ten-year tenure at ConAgra Foods leading to Executive Vice President of supply chain.

Walmart supply chain

According to the retailer’s listed executive profiles, Smith had responsibility for all product flow, distribution and fulfillment center operations, e-commerce replenishment as well as all domestic and global transportation functions. In July 2019, Walmart elected to centralize management of both retail store and online fulfillment operations.

Smith was elevated to lead overall supply chain operational leadership reporting to both U.S. stores chief Furner, as well as online and Omni-channel fulfillment chief Marc Lore. Walmart announced the departure of Lore in January, after becoming part of the retailer’s senior executive with the $3.3 billion acquisition of in 2016.

According to the Bloomberg report: “The company will complement the role with a new chief operating officer for supply chain, Furner said in a memo.”

Usually in senior executive moves of this kind, a new leader is announced shortly after the departure of a current executive.

Also, this week, in conjunction with its annual supplier summit. the retailer announced an effort to invest an additional $350 billion on the sourcing of retail items made, grown or assembled in the United States. According to Walmart, this move will create upwards of 750,000 U.S. jobs and cut 100 metric tons of carbon emissions.

Previously featured on Supply Chain Matters was our 2021 prediction that the unprecedented high global-wide transportation costs and eroding service levels trends cannot be sustained without new thinking on the part of global logistics, financial management, product sourcing and procurement teams. Our sense was that such trending may well accelerate analysis or outright moves toward more regional or nearshored product sourcing strategies. Whether Walmart’s added initiative in the sourcing of more U.S. based products is a part of this dynamic remains to be seen over the coming months.


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