Sam’s Club, which boasts 610 stores and $49 billion 2011 fiscal sales, has a new CEO. Rosalind Brewer is a Spelman College alumna, board member for Lockheed Martin and, more recently, president of Wal-Mart’s U.S. east business unit. She is also the first African American and the first woman to hold a CEO position at one of the nation’s largest retailer’s companies. Departing the job is Brian Cornell, who served as President and CEO since April 2009 and is leaving for personal reasons. Having worked with $100 billion in annual revenue, representing almost 1,600 stores and more than 500,000 associates, the new role for the Michigan native is expected to bring continued growth to the Arkansas-based company.
Before coming to Wal-Mart in 2006 as the regional vice president for Georgia, Brewer served in several positions at Kimberly-Clark Corp. She is one of the few Black women in CEO positions helmed to operate billion dollar companies— her and Ursula Burns of Xerox are the only two— and was named one of Black Enterprise’s “75 Most Powerful Women In Business” in 2010 and Fortune Magazine’s “Fifty Most Powerful Women in Business” in the same year.
We send Ms. Brewer our most sincere “you go girl!”, while hoping that her hiring is not the last one of its kind making headlines in the year to come. With Black folks having heavy consumer power, what will it take for more of these billion-dollar companies capitalize on the unique knowledge we bring to the corporate table?