Bloomberg News

Wal-Mart Names Canada Finance Chief Clarke as China COO

July 14, 2011

(Adds company’s grocery outlook in third paragraph.)

July 14 (Bloomberg) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. appointed Sean Clarke, its Canada finance head, chief operating officer in China to help oversee expansion two months after the company’s COO and chief financial officer in the country left.

Clarke will be joined by Steve Smith, named chief marketing officer in China, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based chain said in an e-mailed statement today. Smith was formerly a senior vice president at Delhaize Group.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is rebuilding its China leadership and raising its investment in the country, which it expects to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest grocery market by 2014. The company has also set up an e-commerce headquarters in Shanghai and acquired an unspecified minority stake in Chinese online supermarket operator Yihaodian.

In May, former Chief Financial Officer Roland Lawrence and Chief Operating Officer Rob Cissell left the retailer, China’s biggest hypermarket chain after Sun Art Retail Group Ltd., to “seek new development opportunities,” the company said at the time. Mario-Jose Medina was named CFO in China, after working in that role in Chile, the company said.

Cissell has joined India’s Reliance Industries Ltd. as chief executive officer for its Reliance Retail Ltd. division, according to a company official who declined to be identified before a public announcement.

Shawn Gray, who resigned from Wal-Mart’s China unit in June as vice president of operations, will also join Reliance Retail, a business owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, as chief operating officer, according to the official.

David Tiang, former vice president and general counsel for the company in Asia, will take over as senior vice president, legal and asset protection in China.

--Michael Wei, Editors: Subramaniam Sharma, Dave McCombs

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Michael Wei in Shanghai at mwei13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Longid at flongid@bloomberg.net


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