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Marissa Mayer

Walmart’s intensifying rivalry with has been well documented. And Walmart’s desires to become an even bigger presence in the online worldis no secret, with the company gobbling up startup companies and hiring top technical talent in an all-out effort to knock Amazon off its perch.

Today, the giant Arkansas retailer took a big step toward that goal, adding some technology horsepower in the board room. The company announced this morning that it has named Marissa Mayer — the 36-year-old Google executive — to its board.

“I have long been a customer and admirer of the company,” Mayer said in a statment. “Walmart is an amazing story of entrepreneurship and, as one of the world’s most powerful brands, touches millions of lives every day. I look forward to contributing to Walmart’s continued growth, success, and innovation in the years to come.” Mayer joined Google in 1999 as its first female engineer, and she now serves as president of Google Maps and Local.

Walmart chairman Rob Walton added:

“We are on the cusp of a massive transformation in the way people shop in our increasingly connected world. Marissa’s insights and expertise in the technology and consumer areas are valuable assets to Walmart as we move forward,” he said.

Walmart has been making a number of technology buys in recent months, including smaller upstarts like Small Society, One Riot, Kosmix and Grabble

If elected this June, Mayer would become the company’s 16th board member. Amazon’s board, by contrast, has 10 positions.

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