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Sam’s Club first Black CEO steps down

By Shantey E. Jamison,

Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer, the corporation’s first Black CEO, is leaving the company after five years leading the bulk retailer, Fortune reports.

Brewer is reportedly leaving the company because “she wants a new challenge,” Doug McMillon, CEO of parent company Wal-Mart Stores, told staff in a memo on Friday. She will be replaced by Sam’s Club’s Chief Merchant, John Furner.

Under Brewer’s leadership, Sam’s Club made large strides in e-commerce with initiatives such as drive-through pick up of online orders and scan-and-go, which allows members to scan items with their phones and speed up checkout. These features gave the chain a rare advantage over its main competitor, Costco.

“She’s leaving Sam’s with momentum,” said McMillon. “Roz and the team have developed a strategy that’s led to three consecutive quarters of improving comp sales and some exciting innovation.”

Before joining Wal-Mart in 2006 as regional vice president, Brewer worked at consumer products maker Kimberly-Clark where she started as a scientist and later led its Global Nonwovens Sector. At Wal-Mart, she climbed the ranks to become division president of the Southeast, and later Wal-Mart East.

Brewer has not disclosed her future plans.

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