CMO 50: William White

Chief marketing officer, Walmart

Walmart was one of the winners of the pandemic, pivoting quickly to keep up with COVID-19 safety protocols. The retail giant had been growing its e-commerce business already, but doubled down on services such as buy online, pickup in-store and curbside pickup to allow consumers to safely shop for essentials. E-commerce sales at Walmart shot up 79% last year. But as an essential retailer, Walmart also kept its doors open through the pandemic.

William White joined Walmart as chief marketing officer in May 2020, at the height of the pandemic. After spending seven years in top marketing roles at Target and prior to that at Coca-Cola, he brought his experience in retail and CPG to help Walmart rise to the challenging times. Overseeing marketing in stores and online, White is responsible for getting the word out about Walmart+, the retailer's Amazon Prime competitor launched in September, as well as driving people back to stores as the country starts to reopen.

Walmart has also made some interesting moves in the media space in the past year. There was a brief moment last fall when Walmart was speculated as a buyer for TikTok. The retailer ran its first shoppable livestream on the platform in December, leaning into a trend that has taken off in Asia but is still nascent in North America. And as Walmart pivots online, it has a sizable media sales network of its own, Walmart Connect, powered by The Trade Desk, which it hopes to grow tenfold over the next five years. 

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