Rosalind Brewer, 49, has been promoted to CEO Of Sam’s Club, the warehouse retail chain owned by Wal-Mart. Previously president of Wal-Mart’s U.S. East business unit,  Brewer is the first woman and African American to hold the CEO position at any of Wal-Mart’s (WMT) business units. Replacing Sam’s Club Mike Duke, Brewer will also be president of Sam’s Club. The transition will be complete February 1.

Wal-Mart East business unit has over 1,600 stores and over 500,000 employees, capping over $100 billion in sales. Assuming the reigns at smaller Sam’s Club will be no less a challenge as it’s on-average retail floor space has a higher profit margin. Outperforming Wal-Mart in third quarter sales, Sam’s Club stores opened for a minimum of one year had a 5.7 percent rise in sales. In comparison, Wal-Mart stores opened the same length of time had only a 1.3 percent increase in sales.

After years at Kimberly-Clark, Brewer joined Wal-Mart in 2006 as a regional vice president. Fortune magazine named her to its list of most powerful women, twice (2010 and 2011).

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