Zhous decision to leave Wal-Mart for “personal reasons”

Zhou's decision to leave Wal-Mart for “personal reasons”

Wal-Mart Stores has seen another senior executive leave its operations in China.

Chief merchandising officer Joe Zhou has stepped down from his role just six months after taking up the position.

A spokesperson for Wal-Mart in China told just-food this morning (16 April) Zhou's decision to leave was for "personal reasons".

The spokesperson said Wal-Mart did not know if Zhou had secured an appointment elsewhere. She added: "Wal-Mart China's strong management team and over 100,000 associates will spare no effort to continue serving our customers so as to fulfill our core mission: 'Saving people money, so they can live better'."

Wal-Mart China COO Sean Clarke, who only moved to the retail giant's operations in the country eight months ago from its unit in Canada, will also take on Zhou's role on an interim basis.

There have been a series of management changes within Wal-Mart's Chinese operations in the last year. 

In February, Wal-Mart appointed long-time Woolworths Ltd executive Greg Foran to the role of president and CEO of its Chinese unit.

Ed Chan, the previous president and CEO of Wal-Mart China, resigned in October for "personal reasons". However, his resignation came amid a police investigation into claims that pork on sale in some of Wal-Mart's stores in China had been re-labelled as organic. Wal-Mart said Chan's departure was not related to the investigation, which led to 13 of the retailer's stores being closed and 25 staff arrested.

Last June, Shawn Gray, vice president of Wal-Mart's hypermarket operations, also handed in his notice. A month earlier, COO Rob Cissell and CFO Roland Lawrence also decided to leave the business.