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Walmart Canada names new president

Company veteran Lee Tappenden will take over the top job in August

Walmart Canada has named Lee Tappenden as its new president and CEO.

Tappenden (pictured) is currently the company’s chief operations officer. He takes over from outgoing president Dirk Van den Berghe Aug. 15.

Van den Berghe, who led Walmart in Canada for two years, is moving to head Walmart’s business in China. That announcement was made two weeks ago.

Replacing Tappenden as COO will be Bob Hakeem, currently chief administrative officer.

Tappenden joined Walmart Canada six years ago as senior-vice president of merchandising operations. He became chief merchandising officer at the Mississauga, Ont.-based retailer in 2011 and was named COO last July.

Tappenden’s time with Walmart goes back much further. After four years at Mobil Oil in the U.K., he joined Asda, the British grocery chain in 1996. Walmart purchased the company three years later.

Tappenden moved to Walmart in the U.S. in 2001, eventually becoming vice-president of international merchandising. Before moving to Canada, he was chief merchandising officer at Walmart’s Seiyu business in Japan.

In a statement this morning, Tappenden, noted that Walmart Canada has seen “significant growth of our business, including a focus on fresh food and investments in ecommerce.” He added, “I look forward to leading the team as we embark on an exciting time for our business and for our customers.”

Tappenden will report to David Cheesewright, president and CEO of Walmart International.

Cheesewright, who like Tappenden hails from Great Britain, was president of Walmart Canada when Tappenden joined the division.

Cheesewright said that Tappenden has “demonstrated outstanding leadership throughout his career" and that he is "extremely well poised to lead Walmart Canada and continue the momentum of growth we are seeing in this market."

Walmart has reported eight consecutive quarters of same-store growth in Canada. In its most recent quarter, same-store sales grew 6.7%, driven by traffic growth of 4.6%. It has also added more grocery-focused Supercentre stores and added online grocery ordering services in Ottawa and Toronto in the last year.

Hakeem, who is assuming Tappenden's COO role, joined Walmart Canada in 2008 as senior vice-president of the people division.

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