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Wal-Mart top China exec quits

(Shanghai Daily)

08:41, October 18, 2011

Shanghai--Wal-Mart Inc has replaced its top executive of China operations after the US retailing giant stumbled in a scandal and was forced to temporarily shut down stores in southwest China.

Ed Chan, who served as president and CEO of Wal-Mart's Chinese business for almost five years, is leaving the company "for personal reasons," the company said in a statement posted online yesterday.

Scott Price, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Asia, will serve as interim leader for Wal-Mart China until a new CEO is named, the statement added.

Clara Wong, senior vice president of the human resources department of Wal-Mart's China, has resigned as well.

Last week, 13 Wal-Mart stores in the city of Chongqing were ordered shut down for 15 days for overhaul after the company was accused of fraudulently selling ordinary pork as organic pork. The local government fined the stores 2.69 million yuan (US$421,800). Two Wal-Mart China employees were arrested by the local police, and 25 detained for further investigation.

The stores have made big illicit profits from selling 63,547 kilograms of falsely labeled pork over the past 20 months, according to the Chongqing Administration of Industry and Commerce.

"We hope Wal-Mart can really implement corrective actions and do some housekeeping this time," Chen Su, deputy director of the administration, said last week.

The company has been punished 21 times since it entered Chongqing in 2006, for selling expired or substandard food, and luring customers with false or exaggerated advertisements.

Such misbehavior has been caught up to nine times this year, when the US retail giant is trying to accelerate its expansion in the world's high-growth market.

Wal-Mart currently operates 353 outlets in 130 cities of China, including 104 stores run by Trust-Mart, in which it bought 35 percent stake in 2007. It has opened about 40 new stores each year recently.

This is the second round of top-management resignations at Wal-Mart China this year. In May, its chief financial officer and chief operating officer resigned "to explore other opportunities," according to the company.

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