When Raj Jain, the CEO of Walmart's India joint venture, resigned this week (and gave no reason for his departure after six years), he became the third such Walmart (NYSE:WMT) country chief to leave in the last two years. He joins the CEO of Walmart's Japan and China operations, points out a story in Quartz.
It just so happens that two of those geographies—India and China—are being investigated for extensive Walmart bribery schemes, along with Brazil and Mexico. Walmart itself suspended several senior execs of the India joint venture late last year.
But bribery is not necessarily the catalyst here, as these regions have also been struggling with revenue and profit goals. The Walmart China CEO quit in October 2011 after sluggish sales and store closures by regulators, Quartz said. Two senior vice presidents left in May, shortly after a string of food scandals forced the company to invest 100 million yuan ($16.3 million) to strengthen food-safety management in stores.
In India, Ramnik Narsey, senior vice president for Walmart International, will serve as interim leader, Bloomberg reported. India in September opened up its retail market to allow foreign companies to own as much as 51 percent of local ventures that sell more than one brand. Overseas brands such as Wal-Mart had been banned from the supermarket industry until then, Bloomberg pointed out.
In March, Walmart said it had spent $157 million on probes of bribery allegations in its international operations and expects to rack up more costs as the investigations continue. It last year began investigating allegations that executives in Mexico paid more than $24 million in bribes to speed the retailer's expansion there, Bloomberg said.
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