Walmart announced Friday it is replacing the head of its Latin America unit as the company faces probes for alleged bribery in its Mexico operations.

Walmart said Eduardo Solorzano, who had overseen a rapid and powerful expansion in Mexico in the early 2000s that is clouded by allegations of corrupt payments, will be replaced as president and chief executive of Walmart Latin America by Enrique Ostale, the current Chile chief.

Solorzano will continue to serve as chairman of the board of directors at Walmart de Mexico, the company said, making no mention of the scandal that sparked a probe by the Department of Justice.

"For 27 years, Eduardo has been a champion for our customers in Mexico and across Latin America, and we are pleased he's staying on as chairman of Walmart de Mexico," the company said.

In April last year, Walmart, the world's largest retailer, said it had opened an internal investigation into its operations in Mexico -- later expanded to several other countries -- after the New York Times published a detailed account alleging it paid $24 million in bribes to Mexican officials to be able to rapidly expand its Mexico business, now only second to its business in the United States.

The story suggested that Walmart had violated both Mexican and US laws, including the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which aims at curbing US corporate misbehavior abroad.