Judith McKenna new

Judith McKenna 

A British supermarket has still to be run by a woman but new UK CEO Roger Burnley will now report into one, with former Asda COO Judith McKenna taking over on 1 February as CEO of Walmart International.

McKenna, who moved to the US as COO of its international division in 2014, replaces David Cheesewright, another former Asda veteran, who has held the job for four years. Cheesewright will work full time for Walmart until the end of March and then “on a limited basis, with specific projects” for a longer period.

Running Walmart International, with over 6,500 stores in Mexico, Canada, China, India, Africa, Chile and Brazil, as well as Asda’s 630+ UK operation, has previously been a stepping stone to the top job. Current CEO Doug McMillon and his predecessor Mike Duke both held the role.

McKenna moved to Walmart HQ to run strategy and development for the international unit and a year later was promoted to COO of Walmart. She has featured in Fortune’s list of Most Powerful Women for the past three years and received plaudits for innovations including a so-called ‘topstock’ system to increase availability in its US stores.

McMillon said: “I have seen first-hand her ability to lead strategic change, build relationships with our associates and strengthen our business. Her integrity, high expectations and passion for the business and our associates will ensure our continued success in International,” said McMillon.

Of Cheesewright he added: “He has built a reputation as an insightful strategic thinker with a track record of delivering consistent, profitable growth.”

McKenna said: “Being chosen to lead Walmart International truly is an honour, and I can’t think of a more exciting time to be in this part of the business.”