Walmart fires CEO after weakest year of growth since 2009
Zoe Wood, the Guardian
In the second major personnel change among the global supermarket elite this week, Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has replaced the boss of its ailing US chain.
Bill Simon will be replaced by Greg Foran, a 53-year-old New Zealander who is currently running its Asian business. Sales at the huge domestic chain, which account for 60% of the retail behemoth’s sales, have been going backwards on Simon’s watch. Walmart posted its weakest sales growth in five years in the first quarter, and its full-year profit forecast disappointed investors.
Like the British retailer Tesco, which at the start of this week replaced its chief executive Philip Clarke with Unilever’s Dave Lewis, Walmart is struggling as shoppers gravitate away from its giant supercentres to smaller shops where they can do their grocery shopping more quickly.
Foran, who joined Walmart from the antipodean retailer Woolworths in 2011, has been working in retail for 35 years having started his career as a teenage shelf stacker. “I am excited to get started,” said Foran. “The needs of our customers are changing dramatically, and we have an enormous opportunity to serve them in new and different ways.”