April 28, 2003, 12:00 AM

Top management shuffle ties Walmart.com closer to Wal-Mart Stores

With the promotion of stores division chief Tom Coughlin to vice chairman in charge of all U.S. retail operations, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is forging closer ties between its stores and WalMart.com, the company says.

With the promotion of stores division chief Tom Coughlin to vice chairman in charge of all U.S. retail operations, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is forging closer ties between its stores and WalMart.com, the company says. "This shows the validation of WalMart.com as a viable business unit and will further integrate the offline and online channels," a spokesman tells InternetRetailer.com.

Wal-Mart last week promoted Coughlin to corporate executive vice president and vice chairman, reporting to president and CEO Lee Scott. WalMart.com president and CEO John Fleming and Mike Duke, who was promoted from corporate executive vice president of administration to corporate executive vice president and president and CEO of the stores division, now report to Coughlin instead of Scott.

Coughlin is also responsible for corporate support functions such as logistics, real estate development and global procurement. A 28-year veteran of Wal-Mart, he has also served as executive vice president of the Sam`s Club division and of Wal-Mart`s specialty groups, such as pharmacy and optical.

Fleming, though not named as CEO of WalMart.com until last fall, has served as its top executive since December 2001, when former CEO Jeanne Jackson left.

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