She will be the first female and the first black woman to assume a CEO role in one of the company’s business units.
Brewer, 49, is replacing Brian Cornell, 52, who is leaving the company so he can return to the Northeast for family reasons.
Prior to joining Wal-Mart, Brewer held a number of executive positions at Kimberly-Clark Corp.
Brewer, who will also be president of Sam’s Club, was previously president of the retailer’s U.S. division. She will report to CEO Mike Duke. The moves are effective Feb. 1. Wal-Mart has in recent years has been battered by a combination of the slow-growing economy and its own decisions that caused U.S. customers to flee to competitors. But it has refocused on offering the lowest prices and shoppers’ favorite goods and that strategy has been paying off. In its third fiscal quarter ended Oct. 28, its net income fell 2.9 percent but it reversed a slump in U.S. namesake business.
Its Sam’s Club warehouse club business has outperformed its namesake stores. Revenue in stores open at least one year rose 5.7 percent at Sam’s Club and 1.3 percent at Walmart U.S. stores in its third quarter. The measure is a key gauge of a retailer’s financial health.