Wal-Mart Promotes Cheesewright to International CEO

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, promoted David Cheesewright to president and chief executive officer of the international business as it struggles to ignite growth.

Cheesewright, 51, currently serves as president and CEO of the retailer’s Europe, Middle East and Africa and Canada regions, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said today in a statement. He’ll start the new position on Feb. 1, the same day his predecessor, Doug McMillon, becomes the retailer’s CEO.

Wal-Mart has been accelerating its expansion in China and other emerging markets while probing allegations of bribery in Mexico and possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The international business had $135.2 billion in revenue in Wal-Mart’s previous fiscal year, about 29 percent of the company’s total sales.

Wal-Mart fell 0.6 percent to $79.50 at 10:40 a.m. in New York. The shares had gained 17 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 27 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

McMillon and Cheesewright face challenges abroad in countries such as Brazil and China, where the company has been working to reintroduce its everyday low price strategy after struggling to spur sales growth.

Wal-Mart said in October that it plans to add as many as 110 stores over three years in China, while shutting some outlets and remodeling dozens more. That same month, the retailer also named two new managers, Adrian Blake and Rob Bray, to its business development and real estate team in China.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating allegations that Wal-Mart systematically bribed Mexican officials so it could more quickly open stores in the country. Federal and local government agencies in Mexico also are involved in probes. In addition, Wal-Mart has said that it has started inquiries into potential violations of the FCPA at operations in Brazil, India and China.

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