On Feb. 1, Rosalind Brewer will become the first woman to head Sam’s Club. The way things have gone for her, she may end up becoming the first woman to head all of Walmart.
Since Brewer joined the world’s largest retailer in 2006, she has hardly had much of a chance to settle into a new office. She started as regional vice president for Walmart’s Georgia operation, but soon after was named president of the Southeast operating division. She advanced from there to become executive vice president and president of the South unit. Last year, she was named president of Walmart East, which put her in charge of all of the Walmart stores from Maine to Puerto Rico … all 1,600 of them.
Word about Brewer has reached well beyond the confines of Bentonville. For the past two years, she has been on Fortune magazine’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. In 2010 she ranked number 35 on this list, and moved up to number 23 last year.
Taking over for Brian Cornell, who is leaving the Sam’s Club CEO post to move to the Northeast for family reasons, Brewer will be in charge of a nationwide operation numbering 610 clubs. Sam’s Club is one of the healthier parts of the Walmart empire. For the first nine months of the current fiscal year, ending on Oct. 28, Sam’s Club’s operating income was up 9.6 percent. Net sales increased 9.5 percent, including a same-club sales pickup of 9 percent.
If she can continue this run of success, who’s to say that, at some point, she won’t be moving into another new office … the one in which the CEO sits? – David Gill