THE ASSERTIVE & COURAGEOUS LEADER
One of the most important things the modern leaders need today is to have resilience…Resilience is about always keeping the head up and pointing the way forward to people rather than looking backwards and complaining of the past.
Judith McKenna is, the British-born former Asda executive has been with Walmart since 1996 and was named as the chief executive of its international division in 2018.
As president and CEO of Walmart International, Judith is responsible for all aspects of Walmart’s footprint outside the U.S., leading a team of 550,000 associates across 23 countries. Judith is transforming the shape of the international portfolio while expanding eCommerce and omnichannel offerings, leveraging innovations from across international markets to build strong local businesses that are powered by Walmart, and working to make lives easier by creating a global culture that puts the customer at the center of everything.
Prior to this role, Judith served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Walmart U.S. She led the company’s 1.5 million associates and operations for its 4,600 U.S. stores. Her passion for teaching and training led to the development of the Walmart U.S. Academy Stores program, which trained a quarter of a million people in its first year. During her tenure, Judith launched Online Grocery Pickup in more than 1,100 U.S. stores and oversaw the integration of technology and processes in the business.
Previously, Judith served as executive vice president of strategy and development for Walmart International, responsible for international strategy, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, integration and global format development.
Earlier in her Walmart career, she held the position of chief operating officer for Asda Stores Ltd—one of the largest subsidiaries of Walmart International. Her role included leadership of retail operations, logistics and eCommerce. Before being appointed COO of Asda, she served as the company’s chief financial officer for more than 10 years.
Judith has been named to Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women list every year since 2015. Judith graduated with a law degree from Hull University in England before earning her Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales accounting qualification at KPMG. She was also awarded an honorary doctorate in law from Hull University.
In 2018, Judith steered Walmart’s biggest ever deal–spending $16 billion for a 77% stake in India’s Flipkart (Walmart now owns an 82.3% stake in Flipkart). Her strategic vision, operational savvy and assertive international leadership style helped her make the 'risky' acquisition work. She was able to sail through because of her resilient nature. "One of the most important things the modern leaders need today is to have resilience, which I am glad over the years I have been able to develop. Resilience is a combination of still having the energy even if things don't look going your way or the team's way. Resilience is about always keeping the head up and pointing the way forward to people rather than looking backwards and complaining of the past," says Judith.
Judith, who has been with Walmart for 25 years, and dawned several different roles said in an interview to the Fortune magazine, "Rather than building a straight line career, I had the opportunity to practice a number of different skills along the way. Each one has taught me something different. This perhaps helped me move on to the next role. The thing that connects my entire career is people and teams, a skill that I have learnt along the way. That's one the reasons why I have been able to switch over careers, a couple of times along the way."
President and CEO, Walmart International