Monday 17th October 2011, 18:58 Central Time
Walmart China CEO departs
Walmart China CEO Ed Chan resigns as Chinese authorities force store closures and detain employees in light of recent labelling transgression
The CEO of Walmart China, Ed Chan, has resigned while the company is reeling from the forced closure of 13 stores in Chongqing.
Mr Chan headed the retailer’s Chinese operations since 2006 and cited personal reasons for his departure. During his tenure the company increased store numbers to 353 from around 70.
Walmart Asia spokesperson Anthony Rose told Reuters Mr Chan’s departure was in no way linked to the labelling scandal in Chongqing that has seen the forced closure of more than a dozen stores following allegations the retailer sold regular pork as organic. Authorities in Chongqing have arrested two Walmart employees and detained 37 others in relation to the incident.
Mr Rose added the retailer had instituted new measures in its stores and the affected outlets should reopen by 25 October.
Also departing the company with Mr Chan is senior vice-president of human resources Clara Wong.
This is the not the first round of top-level resignations this year. In May Walmart China’s chief operating officer Roland Lawrence and chief financial officer Rob Cissell resigned also citing personal reasons for their departures.
Making matters worse for the company, it has been fined, along with French retailer Carrefour, for selling food items with altered production dates to allow then to remain on shelves for longer. While the fines came to just US$1,570 for each company, it is another blow to the image of the company in China.