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Wal-Mart announced Friday that the company’s vice chairman, John Menzer, will assume the responsibilities of Chief Administrative Officer, a move that the company said would solidify “his leadership of corporate strategic planning and many company-wide support functions.”

At the same time, it was announced that Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores - U.S.A., who previously reported to Menzer, now will report directly to company CEO Lee Scott. The move puts all three of the company's operating
divisions -- Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and International -- directly under Scott, who said, “"It makes sense that the company's largest operation reports to the CEO directly.”

Referring to Menzer’s appointment, Scott said in a statement, “"This will enable John to take a more active role in global procurement, an area of increasing strategic importance which John assumed in January. He will play a critical role in leading our global procurement efforts which are key to improving the customer experience around the world through better merchandise and lower prices. Additionally, John will focus his time and attention on expanding our growing financial services business to benefit the underserved."
KC's View:
This was an interesting development, especially because on Friday we reported on a Business Week interview in which Lee Scott seemed to be going to great pains to distance himself from certain decision-making processes at the company.

Curious. Early in the week, Scott says that he doesn’t care if Wal-Mart ever opens a store in New York City. Company flacks then say that he only meant Manhattan. Then he does an interview in which he says he’s been directed to be less provocative (who tells the CEO of the world’s biggest retailer such things?), and a company flack says that Scott is “just one vote in the process to determine where we put our stores.”

If the Bentonville Behemoth is trying to confuse us, it’s doing a good job.