Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, appointed Greg Foran as president and chief executive officer of its China unit, more than three months after his predecessor Ed Chan left the company.
Foran, currently senior vice president for Wal-Mart International, will assume his new roles effective March 1, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. He will move to China, pending work visa approval, Wal-Mart said.
Foran joined Wal-Mart in October and previously headed the food and liquor business at Sydney-based Woolworths Ltd., Australia’s biggest retailer.
One analyst questioned the choice in an interview with Reuters, given that Foran is a relative newcomer to the China market:
“The new appointee seems to have comparatively less China on-the-ground experience,” said James Roy, senior analyst at China Market Research Group based in Shanghai.
“I think for a lot of American companies and a lot of foreign companies, they need people from inside who know the company culture well, and it is important to have a balance between that and the operating environment in China,” he said.
“Whether it is local Chinese or not, it should be somebody who understands the market.”
See also CDT coverage of Wal-Mart’s China expansion through the eyes of Orville Schell, who heads the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations.