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Walmart India to name new CEO amid senior management reshuffle, bracing for fierce competition

Sameer Aggarwal who is curretly the deputy CEO, will take over the company’s reins in April this year.

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In its bid to revamp its senior management in India, Walmart is likely to promote Sameer Aggarwal to head its India operations in April. Aggarwal will replace Krish Iyer, the current president and CEO of Walmart India, who has been heading the US-based retailer’s India business for the last six years.

Two people on the condition of anonymity told local media Economic Times that Iyer would move to an advisory role within the company as his contract with the company is set to expire next year.

Aggarwal, who was hired in April 2018 as chief strategy and administrative officer at Walmart India, has received two promotions in his two years’ stint. After getting promoted as the deputy CEO in January last year, he is currently the second-in-command at Walmart India that also owns online retail giant Flipkart and its subsidiaries.

Earlier this year, Walmart India laid-off 100 senior executives that were working out its Gurugram and Mumbai offices.

In India, Walmart operates 28 Best Price cash-and-carry stores that are wholesale stores where local mom-and-pop stores shop from. Under the Best Price brand, it claims to sell an assortment of over 5,000 items to Indian physical retailers.

Aggarwal is set to take over the reins of its flagship wholesale unit in the country that is reeling with losses. For the financial year ended March 2019, Walmart’s Indian wholesale unit posted a loss of USD 24.1 million (INR 1.72 billion), nearly twice the amount it posted the year before.

However, globally its balance sheet is healthy with steady growth. Its revenue increased from USD 485.9 billion in the financial year 2017 to USD 514.4 billion in FY 2019. Walmart earns revenue through domestic and overseas operations, including Walmart US, Walmart International, as well as Sam’s Club. In 2019, the company said its USD 16 billion acquisition of Flipkart affected Walmart International’s revenue. In Q3 ending September 2019, its revenue dipped to USD 600 million compared to USD 1.2 billion a year-ago in the same quarter.

In India, the company has been long trying to figure out a business model that could change the fortune of its loss-making wholesale venture. According to media reports, the company is internally discussing a “reverse acquisition” of its wholesale of business by Flipkart. It is in fact, to be used by Flipkart.

The company competes with Metro Cash & Carry, Amazon, and Jio Mart, the newly launched wholesale business of Reliance, India’s one of the largest companies. Metro, which has been operating in India since 2003, is currently the market leader and operates 27 stores across the country. Its revenue for 2018-19 exceeded to the tune of INR 6,500 crore (USD 882 million).