Wal-Mart CIO Reassigned

Linda Dillman's move could be a loss for the RFID movement.

Linda Dillman, a woman who has rock star status in the IT industry, particularly among RFID aficionados, has been reassigned.

The former CIO of Wal-Mart Stores, Dillman will become executive vice president of risk management and benefits administration at Wal-Mart, the company announced April 5.

Dillmans colleague Rollin Ford, previously executive vice president of logistics and supply chain, will take what many believe to be the top spot in the IT industry.

During her tenure as CIO of the worlds largest retailer, Dillman is largely credited with single-handedly kick-starting the foundering (and now ever-expanding) RFID market.

In 2003, under Dillmans direction, Wal-Mart implemented a mandate that its top 100 suppliers would have a year to RFID-enable pallets of goods.

Coupled with a similar mandate by the U.S. Department of Defense and followed by RFID initiatives from the likes of Target and other retailers, RFID has been an industry on the move with software, hardware and global standards seemingly in feverish development cycles.

Since its inception, Wal-Marts RFID mandate has grown to include the companys top 300 suppliers—a big swath of the retail supply chain when considering the volume that moves through Wal-Mart stores—and spawned an industry almost overnight.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about Wal-Marts RFID efforts.

Dillmans move is part of a standard executive restructuring practice put in place at Wal-Mart by its founder, Sam Walton, who himself held many roles at the company, according to Wal-Mart officials.

(At a recent RFID conference Dillman talked about her days stocking shelves at a Wal-Mart store, a task she likely performed as part of the "cross-pollenization" practice put in place by Walton).

In addition to Dillman and Fords reassignment, three other executives have been moved to new posts.

Lawrence Jackson, previously the executive vice president of Wal-Marts People division, is now the president and CEO of its global procurement division.

Susan Chambers, the former executive vice president of risk management and benefits administration—Dillmans new role—is now the executive vice president of the People division, which handles human resources functions.

Johnnie Dobbs, the previous senior vice president of logistics, is now the executive vice president of logistics and supply chain.

The industry and analysts are expected to be watching to see if Rollin Ford will put as much emphasis on RFID as did Dillman, and what impact his moves will have on the RFID industry.

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