Walmart Replaces Top Person in U.S. Business

Walmart Stores have replaced Bill Simon the former U.S. head with Greg Foran the Asia chief as it looks to restore the fortunes of the largest sector of its business following a year that has seen sluggish sales.

Foran started in retail 35 years ago stocking shelves in a supermarket part time. He is being transferred to the U.S. only two months after receiving the head position in the Asia business at Walmart.

Walmart announced Thursday that Simon, who in 2006 joined the company and since 2010 has been the head of the U.S. business, would remain for six months as a consultant.

Foran who is 53 joins a U.S. business for Walmart during a time the company has struggled to keep its traditional customers that are low income.

The U.S. business at Walmart represents close to 60% of its total revenue.

During the first three months of the year, Walmart posted its weakest growth in sales in the past five years and its profit forecast for the full year was disappointing to investors.

An analyst in retailing said CEO of Walmart Doug McMillon wanted some new blood in charge of the U.S. business. Simon was upset about not being given the top job in 2013, which went to McMillon.

Shares at Walmart were down 1% on Thursday, to $76.26 in New York.

Foran is from New Zealand. He started at the U.S. based retailer after leaving Woolworths an Australian retailer, where he was head of its supermarket arm.

At one time, he was considered the next in line for the top job at Woolworths, but when he did not receive the position, he quit.

At Woolworths, Foran held a number of senior positions, including the GM of its discount department store sector Big W as well as Dick Smith the retailer of consumer electronics.

Foran started with Walmart during 2011 and became the CEO of Walmart China in just six months. He will start as CEO in the U.S. business on August 9.

Foran will have a salary of $950,000 annually and is in line to receive $4.9 million in stock options early in 2015.

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