Walmart is in the process of cutting 20% of its leadership staff above store level, as reported by a field executive for the retailer. Within the next three weeks, the company will reduce its total number of regional markets from 450 to 350, which will eliminate approximately 300 executive positions by the beginning of October.
This reduction in staff is reportedly the result of an edict to cut expenses quickly. The cuts will save Walmart from having to pay out bonus money and vested equity moving into Q1 2018.
Regional store management and HR overall has been a weak link in the Walmart organization during the past several years. “Three of the most senior folks in Walmart U.S. had zero HR experience prior to their current roles,” the executive told Retail TouchPoints in an exclusive interview. “They don’t seem to want or need HR leadership — they just want people to ‘execute the plan,’” he stated.
In another move to cut expenses, Walmart may be axing half of the new Fresh Operations Managers (as many as 150) it hired within the last six months. These executives were hired to train associates in the stores on the value and benefits of selling fresh produce. The original plan, reported by Fortune in February 2016, was to hire “hundreds” of Fresh Operations Managers.