Wal-Mart Names Latin American Executive as Dot-Com CEO

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. elevated Latin American executive Fernando Madeira to chief executive officer of Walmart.com, the e-commerce division that’s leading the company’s battle against Amazon.com Inc.

Madeira had been serving as president and CEO of Latin America for Wal-Mart’s e-commerce arm, the company said in a memo yesterday. He will now become the head of Walmart.com for the U.S., Latin America and beyond, replacing Joel Anderson, who is leaving June 20 to become president of teen retailer Five Below Inc.

In running Walmart.com, Madeira will work to integrate the company’s Web sales with its brick-and-mortar stores -- a key part of its growth strategy. Though Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retail chain, its e-commerce orders are dwarfed by those of Amazon. Online revenue accounts for less than 3 percent of total sales.

Madeira, who has been based in Sao Paulo, has fueled a sales gain at Wal-Mart’s Latin American e-commerce site by offering a broader assortment and improving fulfillment, the company said.

“We’ve seen Brazil grow twice as fast as the market, while increasing traffic fourfold,” Neil Ashe, Wal-Mart’s CEO of global e-commerce, said in the memo. “In other markets, they’ve leveraged sales and marketing efforts, driving triple-digit growth in Argentina, Chile and Mexico.”

Madeira will be relocating to the San Francisco suburb of San Bruno, where the Walmart.com business is located.

Management Changes

The move follows other recent personnel changes at Wal-Mart’s international business. The company announced last month that its Canadian CEO, Shelley Broader, will oversee operations in Europe, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. Greg Foran, the CEO of Wal-Mart’s Chinese unit since 2012, is taking over as president and CEO of Asia from Scott Price. Price is moving to the company’s headquarters.

Wal-Mart is counting on its online operations to help fuel sales and give customers more options for how they order goods. The company has been grappling with a slowdown both at home and abroad, increasing pressure to wring more growth from the Internet.

Wal-Mart forecast second-quarter profit last month that missed estimates. Earnings will be $1.15 to $1.25 a share in the period, compared with the $1.28 projected by analysts. Sales and profit in the fiscal first quarter, which ended April 30, also trailed estimates.

Anderson will join Philadelphia-based Five Below next month, the retailer said today in a statement.