Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, hired Delhaize Group SA executive Dirk Van den Berghe to lead its Canadian operations, taking the unusual step of looking outside its ranks for talent.
Van den Berghe has 30 years of international business experience and most recently led food retailer Delhaize’s operations in Luxembourg and its home country of Belgium, Wal-Mart said today in a statement. He’ll become chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Canada on Aug. 1.
“His international experience in retail will be a huge advantage to us in Canada,” Andrew Pelletier, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said in an interview. The ability to address the needs of a diverse demographic “in our stores across the country is a definite Wal-Mart competitive advantage.”
Van den Berghe will replace Shelley Broader as CEO of Wal-Mart Canada when Broader moves to oversee company operations in Europe, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.
CEO Doug McMillon has been shuffling the retailer’s management ranks since taking his post in February. Fernando Madeira, formerly head of the company’s Latin America e-commerce arm, was named CEO of Walmart.com, where he will run online retailing for the U.S., his former region, and beyond. Greg Foran, who had been CEO of Walmart’s Chinese unit, was named to head the retailer’s Asia division. Foran will replace Scott Price when he moves to Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Van den Berghe has a doctorate in economics from Sofia University in Bulgaria and speaks seven languages, including English, French and Dutch, Wal-Mart said.
Wal-Mart fell 0.3 percent to $75.68 at the close in New York. The company’s shares have slid 3.8 percent this year.