Kiwi Greg Foran named to run Wal-Mart in US

Greg Foran

Struggling US retail giant Wal-Mart has appointed expatriate New Zealander Greg Foran chief executive of its US operations.

Mr Foran, who was once overlooked for the top job at Woolworths in Australia and then quit, replaces Wal-Mart’s US head, Bill Simon.

The promotion comes only two months after Mr Foran became chief of Wal-Mart’s Asia region.

He quit his position at Woolworths as head of the supermarket business when he missed out on the top job.

Starting out as a lowly shelf–stacker in Hamilton, Mr Foran proves the progression ladder is still operating in some ways. He has held various other senior roles at Woolworths, including general manager of the division Big W and Dick Smiths.

Mr Foran, 53, is expected to receive a $US950,000 salary for the position, the company said in a filing. He could also get up to $US4.9 million in stock options early next year should the company reverse its recent downturn.

The US side of the Wal-Mart business accounts for about 60% of the company’s total revenue.

But Mr Foran’s appointment comes at a sluggish time for the retailer. It has tried to retain the discount company’s traditional low-income customers in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

In the first quarter of 2014, Wal-Mart announced the weakest sakes growth in five years with the full-year forecast disappointing investors, according to Reuters.

Wal-Mart’s stock fell 1.6% in the year to Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen around 10%,

It also received the lowest rating among supermarkets according to a recent Consumer Reports survey. Shoppers complain about Wal-Mart’s confusing pricing and store layouts.

Mr Foran starts his job on August 9.

nsmith@nbr.co.nz

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