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Walmart’s diversity efforts acknowledged by Fortune


Three top executives from Walmart were among the 50 most powerful women recognized recently by Fortune.

The business publication put Sam’s Club president and CEO Rosalind Brewer at 12th on the list with Walmart U.S. EVP and COO Gisel Ruiz ranked 21st. Also making the list in 36th place was Susan Chambers, Walmart’s EVP of the global people division.

Walmart is a huge company and these women are responsible for massive segments of the company’s business, but others in the retail industry have to be a little peeved as Fortune included only one other female retail executive on a list heavy with technology companies. That distinction fell to BJ’s Wholesale Club president and CEO Laura Sen, a curious choice given BJ’s position within the retail industry and modest rate of growth. If Fortune was going to include only one other female retail executive a better choice would have been Carol Meyrowitz, CEO of The TJX Companies. The company’s Marshall’s and TJ Maxx off price concepts are on fire and the company keeps raising and then exceeding its financial targets.

A case could also be made for Target’s EVP of merchandising Kathryn Tesija. She’s a 26 year Target veteran who has occupied her current role since 2008. In that capacity, she gives Walmart fits and her decisions have far-reaching influence on national fashion trends as well as the high velocity consumer packaged goods industry.

Of course, lists of the type Fortune assembled are always highly subjective and the publication offered no rationale for its choices or the ordering. Topping the list in the October 8 issue is IBM president and CEO Ginni Rometty followed by PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi, Hewlett-Packard president and CEO Meg Whitman and Kraft Foods chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld. Gracing the cover is Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer who recently defected from Google and is the newest and youngest member of the Walmart board.

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