Reliance Retail, an arm of India's biggest private company Reliance Industries Ltd, has appointed two former Wal-Mart executives in a top-level rejig as it prepares for the opening up of the retail sector to foreign companies, The Economic Times reported today.
The company has appointed Rob Cissell, former chief operating officer of Wal-Mart China, as chief executive officer. Shawn Gray, vice-president in-charge of store operations of the same company, will join the Mukesh Ambani firm as chief operating officer, the company said in an email to its top executives on Saturday, says the report.
Gwyn Sundhagul, the current chief executive of the retail arm who was hired from the Thailand arm of British retailer Tesco early last year, will move to Reliance Industries' consumer businesses comprising insurance and telecom.
Cissell and Gray have resigned from Wal-Mart China over the last three months. The two were part of the top team of Wal-Mart's China arm that has around 333 outlets, generating $7.5 billion revenues, or 1.8 per cent of the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company's total sales of $420 billion last year.
Cissell was responsible for store operations, merchandising, merchandise development, marketing and supply chain for all retail and Sam's Club formats at Wal-Mart China. Before going to China, Cissell held senior positions in Europe with 10 years of senior executive experience in both Kingfisher Plc and Argos.
He was also the chief executive of B&Q Plc and managing director of Comet Group Plc.
Gray was with Wal-Mart for over 19 years, having spent nearly 13 years in China where he led the team that opened and integrated hypermarkets.
Launched in 2006, Reliance Retail runs about 1,000 stores across formats in 86 cities. It has a line of specialty stores such as Trends, Timeout, Digital, Footprints and Jewels. Its other retail chains include joint ventures with Marks & Spencer, Vision Express and Hamleys.