Neil Ashe to head online business of Walmart

anuary 18, 2012 (United States of America)
Wal-Mart Stores Inc announced that Neil Ashe, 44, is the new president and CEO of the company’s Global eCommerce business. Ashe was most recently president of CBS Interactive, where he led all online properties and also drove development of new ways to distribute programming produced by the media giant and its subsidiaries.

Ashe is replacing Eduardo Castro-Wright who announced his pending retirement in September and will assist in the transition.

“E-commerce is a great opportunity for us and we have a long-term vision to win,” said Mike Duke, Walmart’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. We also have successful online businesses, including in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Brazil. With all of this, it is clear that Walmart is the best- positioned retailer to deliver this multi-channel experience to consumers, many of whom are already connected to the world through smart phones and social media.”

Duke continued, “With his strong personal leadership skills, financial background and experience in successfully working within a major corporation to lead its Internet division, Neil is the ideal leader to help us build this business. He has led companies through all stages of growth and maturity. He also has a deep understanding of the interactive space and how to attract and convert online customers. Perhaps most importantly, much of Neil’s professional success has come through close collaboration and shared goals with his peers – a key attribute as we continue to integrate our online businesses across the company and with our physical stores.”

“Walmart is a special company,” said Ashe. “Growing up in East Tennessee, I have seen first-hand the difference it can make in the lives of its customers. E-commerce gives us a huge opportunity to expand and bring savings to many more people around the world. We have great things ahead of us and I am eager to get started and join the talented team already in place.”

As president of CBS Interactive, based in San Francisco, Ashe led the interactive content business with operations in the U.S., Europe and China. After leading the successful integration of CNET Networks with CBS, he and his team leveraged existing company assets to ramp up CBS entertainment content distribution online, including making CBS.com the largest television network site in the industry.

Prior to this, Ashe was CEO of CNET Networks, initially best known for providing technology-related information, product reviews and price comparisons through CNET.com. He also oversaw dramatic development in the company’s China division, taking it from a small magazine and events operator to a highly profitable, fast-growing online business. During his tenure, the company’s value increased from $100 million to $1.8 billion. Ultimately, Ashe led the sale of the company to CBS and became president of CBS Interactive at that time.

Earlier, Ashe founded a company focused on using the Internet to improve K-12 education in the U.S. Prior to this, he was a partner and managing director at private investment firm Crest Communications Holdings and, before that, was an associate at Smith Barney, the investment bank now part of Citigroup.

Ashe has an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Business Administration, with a major in Finance, from Georgetown University. He serves on the boards of LivingSocial, AMC Networks and the Georgetown University Board of Regents.

Over the past year, Walmart has made investments in capabilities and talent as it continues to build Global eCommerce. It has also further strengthened its position through the acquisition of small Internet specialty companies and continues to expand in new markets such as China and Brazil, including a minority stake in Chinese Internet retailer Yihaodian.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at over 10,000 retail units under 69 different banners in 28 countries. With fiscal year 2011 sales of $419 billion, Walmart employs 2.1 million associates worldwide.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc

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