In a conversation about well-rounded executives in today's business world, it would be hard not to mention Chris Nicholas. The Chief Operating Officer of Walmart U.S., Nicholas has more than 20 years of international and domestic experience in retail. Among his various accomplishments, he boasts a proven track record leading teams through business transformation initiatives, such as reducing costs while increasing revenue. During his lengthy career, he's accumulated a wide range of expertise, including finance, GNFR, audit, merchandising, treasury, M&A, strategy, and investor relations, among others.

In October 2021, Walmart promoted Nicholas to his current role, which combines all aspects of the company's U.S. store operations and supply chain responsibilities, and the veteran retail executive has drawn acclaim from both shareholders and associates alike. Nicholas, who reports directly to Walmart CEO John Furner, also serves as an executive vice president. Prior to his COO role, he served as chief financial officer of Walmart's U.S. segment. Before that, he was CFO for Walmart International, after joining Walmart's elite executive team in 2018 as deputy CFO.

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To say that Nicholas has deep retail roots is an understatement. Born and raised in the U.K., he landed his first job in retail when he was 14. It was a far cry from his executive leadership roles as an adult, but the job provided him an opportunity to learn the mechanics of the retail world—he started out by pricing products, zoning shelves, and working in the backroom. A good student, he later graduated from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in management science.

Before joining Walmart, Nicholas worked in nine different countries for a number of businesses. Most recently, he spent nearly four years at Australian grocery retailer Coles Group, where he held a combined position of CFO and merchandise director, and played a key role in leading the company through unprecedented change within the Australian Supermarket industry. Prior to that, Nicholas served in leadership roles with Tesco and the Salling Group.