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The appointments come after Wal-Mart last year won a historic U.S. Supreme Court decision when the court rejected a nationwide class-action lawsuit brought by women who alleged that they were denied raises and promotions because of their gender.

 This is a history in the making for Wal-Mart because it marks the first time that the largest retail chain has had a woman and African American to be the head of its business chains.

 Brewer, will replace Brian Cornell on February 1, 2012 at the start of the company’s fiscal year, Wal-Mart said. Brewer joined Wal-Mart in 2006 as a regional vice president after spending years at Kimberly-Clark Corp. She was selected as one of the most powerful women in business by Fortune magazine in 2010 and 2011 and sits on the board of Lockheed Martin Corp. She was also the first chair of the Wal-Mart President’s Council of Global Women Leaders. 

The corporation also promoted two other women in high positions. Gisel Ruiz became the US chief operating officer and Karenann Terrell became Wal-Mart’s chief information officer. 

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