January 17, 2012, 10:54 AM

Wal-Mart has a new online chief

Neil Ashe becomes the chain's head of global e-commerce.

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Neil Ashe

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which has shaken up its e-commerce division’s organizational and reporting structure over the last six months, has named Neil Ashe as president and CEO of global e-commerce. He replaces Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman and CEO of global e-commerce and global sourcing, who announced in September that he would retire in July.

Ashe does not hail from retail. He most recently was president of CBS Interactive, where he was responsible for site development and distribution for news-oriented sites including CBS.com, CNET.com, CBSNews.com and CBSSports.com, Wal-Mart says. Ashe came to CBS from his position as CEO of CNET Networks, which CBS bought in 2008. Ashe left CBS Interactive in late 2010 and has since held board positions at several companies, including daily deal operator LivingSocial. He also held a board position with the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group for the online advertising industry.

In announcing the hire, Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO Mike Duke cited Ashe’s experience leading the Internet division within a major corporation and his understanding of the interactive space. The company also noted that Ashe worked with CNET’s China division. Wal-Mart last year bought a minority stake in Chinese web retailer Yihaodian.

“E-commerce gives us a huge opportunity to expand and bring savings to many more people around the world,” Ashe says. “We have great things ahead of us and I am eager to get started and join the talented team already in place.”

Wal-Mart says Castro-Wright will help Ashe make the transition to his new job. Several Walmart.com executives have left the retailer over the last six months. In August, Raul Vazquez, the former CEO of Walmart.com, left the retail chain. At the time of his departure Vazquez oversaw the retailer’s development markets group. Steve Nave, senior vice president and general manager of Walmart.com, also left the retailer in August. Wan Ling Martello, executive vice president of global e-commerce, emerging markets, left the company this fall.

Those moves were preceded, in January 2010, by Wal-Mart’s creation of a global e-commerce unit and the reorganization of its U.S. web operations.

Walmart.com is No. 6 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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