A Walmart store in China. (Photo/CFP)
Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has confirmed that Walmart China's senior vice president Wang Pei has resigned for personal reasons, at a time when the company is adjusting its operational structure in the country, the Shanghai-based National Business reports.
Feng Yi, Walmart China's vice president in charge of purchasing and consumer goods, has also resigned, with HQ saying he also left for personal reasons.
Senior retail expert Ding Liguo said however that Wang's resignation is more likely the result of his concerns over the company's outlook, the report said.
Wang, who joined Walmart in 1995 to focus on HR, was promoted to vice president in 2002 and then became a senior vice president to supervise the nation's overall HR operations, the report said.
Since Greg Foran became Walmart China's president and CEO last year, the division has conducted ongoing personnel adjustments. Industry insiders say Wang's departure will likely trigger another reshuffle.
Along with problems posed by personnel adjustments and quality defects, Walmart's performance in the first quarter failed to meet market expectations. Walmart's profits rose to US$3.78 billion in the first quarter from US$3.74 billion a year earlier, while its first-quarter sales gained 1% to US$114.19 billion, lower than the US$116.29 billion predicted by analysts.
The performance was also worse than the same quarter of last year, when Walmart's net profits rose 10.1%, while its sales, excluding membership income, gained 8.6% to US$112.2 billion, the report said.
Ding said he takes a pessimistic view of Walmart's outlook in China,because the company is bent on strengthening internal management at a time when shopping malls and supermarket are all seeking innovation as their models have reached saturation in the Chinese market and the impact of e-commerce rivals is being felt.