Walmart Stores Inc on Friday named its senior vice-president Krish Iyer as its new president and CEO for India, two months after the world's largest retailer called off its six-year-old alliance with Sunil Mittal-controlled Bharti Group that was hit by government probes.
Iyer, who joined Walmart last year, will replace interim CEO Ramnik Narsey, who took over in June when Raj Jain quit as CEO for unexplained reasons. He will assume his new role on January 20. Narsey will be senior vice-president at Walmart International.
Jain joined the Bharti Group as an adviser in October, days after Walmart and Bharti called off their 50:50 wholesale venture set up in 2007 that runs cash-and-carry 'Best Price Modern Wholesale' stores.
It was not immediately known whether Walmart will partner with any local firm for its India retail foray, though Iyer sounded bullish.
"Through Walmart's investment here, including our cash-and-carry business…we want to serve India," he said in a statement.
Iyer was earlier CEO of Piramyd Retail and is a chartered accountant by training.
Bharti Retail, which currently runs 212 front-end multi-brand stores, is believed to be in talks with Indian and foreign retail chains for a new joint venture.
Walmart had come under scanner amid allegations that it may have entered India's front-end multi-brand retail business two-and-a-half years before the government allowed foreign investors in the sector last year.
Specifically under cloud was Walmart's investment of `455.80 crore ($100 million at the exchange rate at that time) in March 2010 in Cedar Support Services, a company owned and controlled by Bharti that operates front-end retail stores under the brand name 'Easy Day.'
On Friday, the government said Cedar has requested for "compounding (of) the FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) contravention," implying the company was looking for reconciliation by offering a penalty.