Asda has appointed Stephen Smith as its new chief marketing officer replacing Rick Bendel.

Smith joined Walmart in July 2011 and is currently chief marketing officer in China. He will join Asda’s executive committee in May.

Bendel will move to a new global marketing role for Asda owner Walmart. He has spent three years as international chief marketing officer for Walmart alongside leading Asda’s marketing.

Prior to his current role, Smith spent 10 years working in marketing and merchandising roles in grocery retail with grocer Delhaize in North America and Belgium.

He has also had marketing and advertising roles at AT&T, outdoor-sports media agency Resort Sports Network and advertising agency J Walter Thompson.

Asda president and chief executive Andy Clarke said: “I was delighted that Steve joined Walmart last year and will now bring his retail marketing pedigree to the UK. I’m been an admirer of Steve’s work at Delhaize retail brands such as Sweetbay, Hannaford and Delhaize Le Lion, for many years and I’m certain he’ll be a valuable addition to the Asda executive team.”

Clarke added: “Because this is a time of strength for Asda, it now seems the perfect time for Rick to do more to help shape Walmart’s worldwide marketing efforts and embark on the next exciting phase of his career.

“Few people in the history of our business have loved and understood Asda as well as Rick. His empathy for customers is equalled only by his advocacy for colleagues, and his ability to bring that alive through story-telling will be legendary for generations to come.”

Asda said it will “use some of the time that Rick isn’t setting aside for international projects, to ensure a seamless handover to Steve as he transfers from China”.