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Sam's Club to Bill's Club

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Microsoft has reached outside of IT and into the cut-throat world of retail shopping to appoint its next chief operating officer.

Kevin Turner was on Thursday named COO, having joined Microsoft from Wal-Mart, a company accused of killing local business and famed for its non-unionized workforce.

Turner, a 20-year Wal-Mart employee, recently served as president and chief executive of the retail giant's $37bn Sam's Club warehouse stores.

Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer said in a statement, "More than ever, Microsoft’s growth opportunities abound as a result of our strong product innovation pipeline. Kevin’s leadership of global technology, sales, marketing and services will help ensure we harness this potential and fully realize the growth opportunities before us.”

Turner, a former Microsoft customer through his work at Wal-Mart, called Microsoft a "very exciting place in which to contribute and work to change the world."

Microsoft's COO post has been vacant for three years, since the previous incumbent Rick Belluzzo left in the spring of 2002. Turner, 40, will be responsible for strategic and operational leadership of Microsoft's sales, marketing and services professionals and Microsoft's fulfillment and IT operations.

Kevin Johnson, currently group vice president of worldwide sales, marketing and services, is to be given a "new senior executive role" during the next 30 days.

Former Wal-Mart executives have been making their way around the tech scene of late. HP just pinched ex-Wal-Mart CIO Randall Mott from Dell. ®

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