Wal-Mart Names Head of Global E-Commerce Business

 @ibtimes on January 16 2012 9:35 PM

(Reuters) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc on Sunday named Neil Ashe as the new president and chief executive of its global eCommerce business as the world's largest retailer in a move to bolster its online presence.

Wal-Mart, which is trying to meet customers wherever they want to shop -- in stores, online, on phones, on tablets -- said Ashe was most recently president of CBS Interactive. His appointment is effective immediately.

Ashe replaces Eduardo Castro-Wright, who announced his pending retirement in September and will assist in the transition, Wal-Mart said.

Wal-Mart, which generates more than $400 billion in annual revenue, is the sixth-largest Internet retailer, behind Amazon.com Inc, Staples Inc, Apple Inc, Dell Inc and Office Depot Inc, according to industry publication Internet Retailer.

Wal-Mart does not disclose the percentage of sales that comes from its online business.

E-commerce is a great opportunity for us and we have a long-term vision to win, said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart's president and CEO. We are on track to create the next generation of e-commerce, combining the latest in online innovations with physical stores to give our customers a unique and seamless shopping experience.

We have an understanding of what these customers want, a trusted brand, 200 million weekly shoppers, more than 10,000 stores around the world, and the ability to make significant investments in talent and technology, Duke said.

Wal-Mart said it has online businesses in the United States, the UK, Canada and Brazil. It recently started a new unit called @WalmartLabs, whose job is to help Wal-Mart capture more sales from the proliferation of smartphones and social networking.

During the past couple of years, Wal-Mart also bought the Vudu streaming video service and technology company Kosmix, and bought a stake in Chinese e-commerce company Yihaodian.

In August, Wal-Mart changed its e-commerce business structure, putting the people who run stores in developed markets such as the United States in charge of the websites in those countries.

Under the changes, Wal-Mart has e-commerce teams in developed markets -- the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Japan -- report directly to the senior store leadership in those countries.

Ashe previously served as CEO of CNET and led the sale of the company to CBS and president of CBS Interactive at that time. In that position, Ashe led the led the interactive content business with operations in the United States, Europe and China.

(Reporting By Jessica Hall; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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