Walmart Canada Makes Two Executive Moves

New chief people officer named; Canadian Leadership Team gets two new additions
AnnMarie Mercer and Rob Nicol
Photograph courtesy of Walmart Canada

Walmart Canada announced a pair of additional changes to its executive lineup, after a C-suite shakeup last month.

The retailer, one of Canada's largest private employers, promoted human resources VP AnnMarie Mercer to chief people officer. In addition, Mercer and Rob Nicol, who serves as VP of communications and corporate affairs, will join the company's official Canadian Leadership Team.

"This announcement speaks to our bench strength of talent," Walmart Canada President and CEO Horacio Barbeito said in a statement. "Through AnnMarie and Rob's dynamic leadership, I'm confident we will continue to build upon our transformational journey for both our associates and customers."

Mercer joined Walmart Canada in 2015 as vice president of human resources and strategic initiatives. In that role, the company said in a news release, Mercer "has been instrumental in charting the retailer’s path forward" in areas including organizational design and future ways of working. Previously, she was an HR an organizational change director in several leadership roles over 14 years at Baxter International. 

Nicol, previously VP of StrategyCorp in Toronto and a communications director for former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, joined Walmart Canada in 2017. In his five years as Walmart Canada communications VP, he has "strengthened Walmart Canada’s external reputation as a regenerative business, fostered positive and strategic relationships with government and helped position Walmart Canada as a top place to work through a more proactive approach to telling the Walmart Canada story," the retailer stated.

In May, Walmart Canada named four new C-suite leaders, appointing Nabeela Ixtabalan as COO, Sam Wankowski as chief merchandising officer, Laurent Duray as chief e-commerce officer, and John Bayliss as EVP and transformation officer. All were internal promotions; Ixtabalan, the newest member of the Walmart Canada team, joined the retailer in 2020 after holding leadership roles with brands including Starbucks and Ikea. Bayliss's role is a new one; he previously served as SVP of supply chain and logistics for Walmart Canada, and as transformation officer, according to the retailer, he's now responsible for driving strategy, innovation, corporate development, new store formats and key real-estate moves. 

Walmart Canada operates more than 400 stores across the country, and is visited by more than 1.5 million customers a day, according to the retailer. Two years ago, Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart said it would invest about $2.6 billion USD over the next five years to modernize its Canadian stores and operational infrastructure.



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