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Walmart China CEO departs, interim chief named
October 18th, 2011
HONG KONG – The chief executive officer of Walmart China has resigned, and Walmart has appointed the head of its Asia unit to oversee its China operation.
Walmart on Monday said that Ed Chan, president and CEO of Walmart China, is leaving the company for personal reasons after nearly five years of service and will be replaced on an interim basis, effective immediately, by Walmart Asia president and CEO Scott Price.
The U.S. discount store giant also announced that Clara Wong, senior vice president/ people for Walmart China, has resigned.
Plans call for Price will continue to serve as CEO of Walmart Asia and as CEO of Walmart China until a new chief executive is named for Walmart's China business, the retailer said.
Price noted that Walmart has established a successful business in China. "We recently celebrated our 15th anniversary in China, and there is a lot to celebrate about our business here," he said in a statement. "China is a very important market for Walmart, and China's 12th five-year plan will provide strong opportunities to the retail industry.”
Walmart entered the Chinese market and opened its first Supercenter and Sam's Club warehouse club in Shenzhen in 1996. Currently, the retailer operates a variety of formats and banners in China, including Supercenters, Sam's Clubs and Neighborhood Markets.
As of Oct. 1, Walmart had 353 units in 130 cities in China. The company reported that it has created about 100,000 job opportunities across China.
"Walmart has made valuable contributions to the economy, industry and to the community," Price stated. "Our Direct Farm program, for example, has touched the lives of over 800,000 farmers. Since our entry into China, our associates have contributed over 200,000 hours to several local charities and causes.
"I am confident that the China management team will continue to lead Walmart's expansion and will continue to save Chinese customers money so that they can live better," he added.
Published reports noted that the leadership change comes amid controversy, in which Walmart China was accused of selling regular pork as organic pork over the past couple of years. In connection with the matter, Chinese authorities earlier this month closed a dozen stores and detained a number of the retailer's employees, reports said.
And in the spring, Walmart China saw the resignation of its chief operating officer and chief financial officer, according to reports.
Walmart has labored to grow its business in China, where its low-price strategy is squeezing profits, according to industry observers. They noted that Walmart also has grappled with stiff competition, facing off with global retailing giants Carrefour (France), Tesco (United Kingdom) and Metro AG (Germany) along with China's Sun Art and China Resources Enterprise.