Tags: Wal | Mart | Google | Board

Wal-Mart Nominates Google’s Mayer for Board Amid Online Push

Monday, 16 Apr 2012 03:15 PM

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, nominated Google Inc.’s Marissa Mayer for election to its board as the company works to improve its online operations.

Mayer, 36, will stand for election at the annual shareholder meeting on June 1 and would become the board’s 16th member if selected, Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart said today in a statement. She has been vice president of Local and Maps for Google since 2010.

Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke has been working to improve Wal-Mart’s online-retailing operations, hiring hundreds of workers for its @WalmartLabs digital unit and acquiring five technology firms since May. The push comes as Wal-Mart’s traditional, lower-income customers are getting more tech savvy and less-strapped shoppers who began frequenting Wal-Mart during the recession discover rivals such as Amazon.com Inc.

“It goes back to their strategy of acquiring expertise in areas where they don’t have core competencies,” Natalie Berg, analyst with research firm Planet Retail in London, said in a phone interview. “I’m sure they will try to glean from her expertise and apply it to their online strategy.”

Wal-Mart rose 1.3 percent to $60.54 at 12:55 p.m. in New York. The shares had gained 11 percent in the 12 months before today.

Sales at Wal-Mart rose 6 percent last year, compared with a 41 percent gain for Amazon’s revenue. Wal-Mart doesn’t provide revenue data for its online operations. Online sales amounted to less than 2 percent of Wal-Mart’s revenue, according to research firm Kantar Retail.

Retail Trends

With locations in Brisbane, California, and Bangalore, India, @WalmartLabs was set up to help Wal-Mart improve its website and devise new ways for consumers to shop online and using smartphones. The unit also works with social media to find consumer retail trends.

Mayer began her career at Mountain View, California-based Google in 1999 as its first female engineer and serves on the boards of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the San Francisco Ballet, according to the statement.


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