Greg Foran new CEO at Walmart U.S. as Bill Simon departs

Walmart named Greg Foran president and CEO of its U.S. stores division to replace Bill Simon, who is leaving the company after an eight-year run.

Foran is a relative newcomer at Walmart, who joined the company in October 2011 and by March of 2012 had been elevated to the role of president and CEO of Walmart China. In that capacity, he reported to current Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO Doug McMillon, who at the time served as president and CEO of Walmart International. McMillon assumed his new role earlier this year prompting speculation that Simon would leave the company if he were passed over for the top job.

“Greg is one of the most talented retailers I’ve ever met. His depth of knowledge and global experience will bring a fresh perspective to our business,” said McMillon. “His passion for fresh food, experience in general merchandise and commitment to e-commerce will help us serve our customers even more effectively for years to come.”

Although he only briefly oversaw Walmart’s China operations, the team made significant progress with its assortment, pricing, store operations and compliance as Foran led strategic investments in the supply chain and improved the store portfolio, according to a Walmart statement. Foran was elevated to the role of president and CEO of Walmart Asia earlier this year to oversee the retailers business in Japan and India as well as China.

McMillon spoke highly of Simon who will transition out of the company in the next six months.

“During Bill’s eight years of service to Walmart, his passion for our mission, dedication to our associates and our customers, and innovative thinking pushed us forward,” McMillon said. “From the very beginning, his vision led us to lower the cost of health care through our $4 prescription offering. And, most recently, he put us on a path to future growth with small formats and efforts that integrate digital and physical retail.”

Foran will assume his new responsibilities on August 9. Prior to joining Walmart three years ago, Foran held a number of roles with Woolworths, the leading retailer in Australia and New Zealand. He served as the managing director of supermarkets, liquor and petrol with responsibility for more than $40 billion in sales at that time. Under Foran’s leadership, the business grew sales and market share in a strong competitive market. Earlier in his career, Foran served as general manager of Big W, Woolworth’s industry leading discount store business and as general manager of Dick Smith Electronics.

“I’ve worked closely with Greg for the past few years and I’ve seen firsthand his passion for retail. I’m confident that Greg’s strong leadership skills and alignment with our culture will serve our customers and associates well,” McMillon said. “I’m excited about what he will bring to this important part of our business.”

“Being asked to lead the Walmart U.S. business is a privilege that I don’t take lightly,” said Foran. “I am excited to get started. The needs of our customers are changing dramatically and we have an enormous opportunity to serve them in new and different ways. We must be fierce advocates for our customers, work meticulously to exceed their expectations and earn their trust every day.”

Simon said it had been an honor to work for Walmart for the past eight years, adding, “this felt like the right time to move on and focus on my next opportunity. I look forward to helping the company as much as I can in the next six months.”

Walmart said it would name Foran’s successor as president and CEO of Walmart Asia at a later date.