Walmart U.S. loses leader Foran after the Aussie brings it success

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 15th October 2019

Walmart U.S.’s CEO, Greg Foran, who has played a key leadership role in reinventing Walmart’s stores in the United States with a strategy in which food and food service were integral, has announced that he will be leaving to take up the CEO role at Air New Zealand.

Foran joined Walmart International in 2011 where he served in a number of capacities including as president and chief executive officer of Walmart China up until he assumed his as role as CEO of Walmart US some  5 years ago. Interestingly, the move also led to some other Australians subsequently being recruited into filling important Walmart positions during Foran’s leadership. 

Before joining Walmart, Greg Foran held a number of positions with Woolworths, the leading retailer in Australia and New Zealand. In 2011, Woolworths missed its opportunity of appointing him as its CEO when its board selected former Woolworths CEO Grant O’Brien instead. O’Brien’s tenure as Woolworths ended with a termination payment in 2015. Meanwhile, Foran had been headhunted by Walmart, the world’s biggest supermarket group, and quickly rose to the top of the US operations. 

Roger Corbett, the ex-CEO of Woolworths, had joined the Walmart international board in 2006. Undoubtedly, Corbett had tipped off Walmart on the recruitment opportunity to woo Foran to Walmart after being passed over by Woolworths for the top job there.

US analysts at the time of Greg Foran’s appointment were reported to be warning that an outsider from a much smaller Australian chain would not have a positive impact on the then-beleaguered Walmart, but Foran proved all the skeptics wrong. 

Walmart is renowned for its leadership talent spotting from a diversity of backgrounds and especially with strong opportunities in developing the leadership talent amongst women throughout its management executive teams.