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Wal-Mart announced last Friday a major realignment of its executive suite, flip-flopping executives with domestic and international responsibilities.

John Menzer, who has led the company’s international expansion efforts for the past half-dozen years, moves over to become vice chairman of Wal-Mart’s US stores. Menzer also reportedly will take on an expanded portfolio of duties, with oversight responsibility for the company’s real estate, logistics, information technology and benefits divisions, most of which had been supervised by company CFO Thomas Schoewe.

Mike Duke, president/CEO of Wal-Mart’s domestic retailing operations since 2003, becomes vice chairman for international stores.

The company also announced that Eduardo Castro-Wright, executive vice president/COO of Wal-Mart Stores USA, has been named president and CEO of the domestic division, reporting to Menzer.

"These changes represent an opportunity to boost our performance and help us become a more diverse and global enterprise," Wal-Mart Chairman Rob Walton said in a written statement.

Analysts note that challenges are abundant in both the company’s domestic and international operations.

Globally, Duke must deal not just with Seiyu – the company’s troubled Japanese affiliate in which Wal-Mart has just taken majority ownership – but also with issues like continuing difficulties in Germany and tough competition in the UK from Tesco. And in the US, Menzer will have to deal with resistance from some communities that don’t want a Wal-Mart inside their borders, union organizers that continue to try and make inroads among its employees, and growth that analysts portray as disappointing compared to the halcyon days of the not-too-distant past.
KC's View:
Almost nobody would describe Wal-Mart as a troubled company…and one of its strengths is that even when things are generally working pretty well, it doesn’t mind shuffling responsibilities and executives to get new energy and insights. That’s one of the things that differentiates the Bentonville Behemoth from a lot of other companies – despite its giant size, it is willing to try different approaches to get better, stronger, more successful.