Fresh from Bentonville, here is a piece of news… Ron McCormick, longtime Vice President/DMM of Produce & Floral at Wal-Mart, has been reassigned to a new position focusing on local purchasing and sustainability.
We are not precisely sure what this new job will entail and no replacement has been named yet, though Wal-Mart has been hot on sustainability for some time and Ron has shown interest in the subject.
We ran a piece on a discussion he gave on Wal-Mart’s pursuit of “Heritage Agriculture” that you can read here.
Ron has from time to time tried to speak to the industry, as in this interview where he tried to clarify a reorganization of Wal-Mart’s produce procurement operation — though his public outreach became less frequent when there were management changes, and keeping the trade informed became less of a priority.
Ron’s departure from his position is really the end of an era. Ron was brought in by Bruce Peterson, who knew him from their days together at Meijer and — although in recent years the two had only sporadic contact, and many vendors felt they were very different people with different philosophies and attitudes — symbolically at least Ron’s presence was a lineal connection to Bruce Peterson, the man who built the produce operation at Wal-Mart from virtually nothing to the biggest in the world.
We, of course, wish Ron well in his new endeavors and now we have a new question for the industry to ponder: Who ought to sit in what is arguably the single most important produce-specific position on the planet earth?