Bendel has been CMO of Walmart’s international operation for the past three years as well as overseeing Asda’s marketing efforts and now he will work from London on ‘marketing projects focussed on other markets.’
Smith joined Walmart last year, and is currently CMO of the group’s business in China. Before joining Walmart Smith spent ten years with Belgium’s Delhaize in the US and Belgium.
Asda CEO Andy Clarke says: “Because this is a time of strength for Asda, it now seems the perfect time for Rick to do more to shape Walmart’s worldwide marketing efforts.”
Bendel caused controversy when he quit Publicis in London to take the marketing helm at its biggest client Asda and then moved the account to Saatchi & Saatchi, also owned by Publicis Groupe. Asda’s big campaigns are still handled by Saatchi with some work carried out by Leeds-based retail specialist Gratterpalm.
His new role may focus on Walmart’s increasingly ambitious online efforts. The company, which is the world’s biggest retailer despite largely unsuccessful efforts to expand elsewhere in Europe, has recently invested heavily in online. It surprised the markets by buying start-up social media specialist Kosmix for $300m last year.