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Ed Kolodzieski, a longtime food industry executive and currently senior vice president and chief operating officer of Wal-Mart International, has been named CEO/president of Seiyu, the Japanese retailer that is in the process of becoming a Wal-Mart subsidiary. Kolodzieski has been on the Seiyu board for about two years.

The appointment takes effect December 15. Seiyu CEO Noriyuki Watanabe stays on as company chairman. The move gives Wal-Mart control of six out of 11 Seiyu board seats.

Wal-Mart first made an investment in Seiyu in 2002, and has been gradually increasing its ownership position. At about the same time that Kolodzieski takes over, Wal-Mart will own about 54 percent of Seiyu, with the option to buy even more stock in coming years.

However, despite the fact that Wal-Mart has been working with Seiyu to streamline its supply chain and improve its merchandising strategy, the Japanese chain has continued to generate disappointing numbers – something that Kolodzieski will be expected to turn around.

The Kolodzieski move is part of an ongoing series of executive shuffles at Wal-Mart. It was just a month ago that John Menzer, who has led the company’s international expansion efforts for the past half-dozen years, moved over to become vice chairman of Wal-Mart’s US stores. At the same time, Mike Duke, president/CEO of Wal-Mart’s domestic retailing operations since 2003, became vice chairman for international stores.
KC's View:
We’ve known Ed Kolodzieski for a lot of years – since his days at Kash n’ Karry and Ingles - and we’ve always liked him. We can guarantee the folks at Seiyu that they’re being led by a straight shooter…and we can say that because Ed is the only person who ever has taken us on a series of store tours with a gun strapped to his ankle.

At least, the only one that we know of.

And we’re pretty sure that the gun wasn't being carried in the event we got out of line…

We’re not suggesting anything illegal or improper. The fact is that Ed Kolodzieski has, in most of the communities where he has worked, signed up to be part of the local police auxiliary, on call at all times in case of trouble or need.

This explains the weapon…but it also, in our mind, suggests a desire and a drive to be part of the local community, to understand it and, yes, bring order to it.

Qualities, we suspect, that will serve Ed well in his new role.