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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has promoted Greg Foran to president and CEO of Walmart U.S., effective Aug. 9. Foran succeeds Bill Simon, who has held the role since June 2010 and is leaving the Bentonville, Ark.-based company, but will be available on a consulting basis for the next six months to ease the transitional period.
In his new role, Foran will report directly to Walmart President and CEO, Doug McMillon, who noted: “Greg is one of the most talented retailers I’ve ever met. His depth of knowledge and global experience will bring a fresh perspective to our business. His passion for fresh food, experience in general merchandise and commitment to e-commerce will help us serve our customers even more effectively for years to come."
"During Bill’s eight years of service to Walmart, his passion for our mission, dedication to our associates and our customers, and innovative thinking pushed us forward,” added McMillon of the departing Simon. "From the very beginning, his vision led us to lower the cost of health care through our $4 prescription offering. And, most recently, he put us on a path to future growth with small formats and efforts that integrate digital and physical retail."
Additionally, as president and CEO of Walmart U.S., Simon led a turnaround that refocused the company on everyday low costs, everyday low prices and a bigger product assortment. He also created more career opportunities for employees, spearheaded a U.S. manufacturing revitalization and committed the retailer to hire more U.S. veterans.
Bringing with him 35 years of retail experience, Foran joined Walmart in October 2011, becoming president and CEO of Walmart China in March 2012. During his time in that role, his team made significant progress in assortment, pricing, store operations and compliance as Foran headed strategic investments in the supply chain and enhanced the store portfolio. He then rose to the position of president and CEO of Walmart Asia earlier this year.
Before Walmart, Foran held a range of roles with Woolworths, the top retailer in Australia and New Zealand. As managing director of supermarkets, liquor and petrol, with responsibility for more than $40 billion in sales, he increased the business' sales and market share in a highly competitive market.
"This move demonstrates that Walmart will not rest on its laurels and is definitely open to bringing in fresh blood and new thinking -- something we think will serve Walmart U.S. well as it struggles to turn around lackluster performance and jump-start stagnant sales growth," observed Sandy Skrovan, U.S. research director at London-based Planet Retail.
The mega-retailer will reveal Foran's replacement in the role of president and CEO of Walmart Asia at a later date.
Walmart operates almost 11,000 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries, as well as e-commerce websites in 10 countries.