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Bill Simon Walmart CEO leaves company

Walmart’s CEO unexpectedly steps down



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Walmart has announced it is replacing the chief of its US discount stores, in what could be a shake-up to attempt to rebound from a year of disappointing results. 

Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart Asia, has been promoted to president and CEO of Walmart US, replacing current CEO Bill Simon (pictured), who has held the role since June 2010.

Simon will be “transitioning out of the company”, a press release stated, but will be available on a consulting basis for the next six months.

Foran will assume his new responsibilities on August 9 and will report directly to Walmart President and CEO, Doug McMillon.

While the move marks a big shake up for the discount retailer, some analysts think the timing of the shift is odd, given the US market is about to go into some of the biggest retail periods of the year – back-to-school and winter holidays seasons.

Brian Sozzi, CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, told the New York Post he thinks the timing is strange. 

“A decision to replace a high-ranking leader of a major retailer before back-to-school and before holidays speaks volumes,” he said. “McMillon is starting to clean house and pick executives who will move quicker.”

However, in a press statement McMillon said Foran 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.”

Foran joined Walmart in 2011 and became the president and CEO of Walmart China in 2012. He was promoted to president and CEO of Walmart Asia earlier this year.

Prior to Walmart, he held a number of roles with leading Australian and New Zealand retailer Woolworths, as well as roles with Big W and Dick Smith Electronics.

“Being asked to lead the Walmart US business is a privilege that I don’t take lightly,” said Foran. “I am excited to get started.

“The needs of our customers are changing dramatically and we have an enormous opportunity to serve them in new and different ways. We must be fierce advocates for our customers, work meticulously to exceed their expectations and earn their trust every day.”

Image credit: Walmart

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