Obituary – Lou Puim

Lou Puim, VP, director of marketing at Mississauga, Ont.-based

Lou Puim, VP, director of marketing at Mississauga, Ont.-based Wal-Mart Canada, passed away suddenly on Friday, March 10, as a result of a car accident.

Featured in strategy’s ‘Who to Watch’ feature last October, Puim was a bona fide retail man. He joined Woolworth’s management training program in 1976, right out of high school, and later earned a marketing degree from Wilfred Laurier University on the side.

During his tenure, Puim saw his company change hands twice – first to Woolco and later to Wal-Mart – but his impact was constant. In fact, when Wal-Mart Canada purchased Woolco’s 122 Canadian stores in 1994, the U.S. chain’s senior executives were so impressed with Puim’s track record, they decided to keep him in his post as director of marketing.

Notably, over the past several years, Puim has been credited with getting Canadians to embrace Wal-Mart, by improving its stores and product assortment, capturing customer stories in TV advertising, and reaching out to ethnic Canadians. As a telltale sign of his continued success, mere days before his death, Wal-Mart announced it had promoted Puim, by adding a VP to his title.

Puim leaves behind his wife Maria, and two children, Jade and Brandon. He was 48 years old.