U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) on Wednesday said that Raj Jain, president and CEO of its India unit, has left the company and Ramnik Narsey, who is currently senior vice president at Walmart International, will replace him.
According to local media reports, the company in an emailed statement said that Jain is “no longer” with the company and announced Narsey as an interim head for its India operations. It did not specify the reasons for Jain's departure.
Narsey joined Walmart in May 2013 after serving as chairman and chief executive officer for Australian retailer Woolworths Limited's (ASX:WOW) India unit.
Jain, who led Wal-Mart’s business in India for the last six years, has left at a time when the company is dealing with government and internal investigations, and is struggling to gain a foothold in India’s crowded and highly competitive retail market, which also places many restrictions on foreign players.
His resignation comes seven months after Wal-Mart and Bharti Enterprises, its Indian join venture partner, suspended the chief financial officer and other personnel in India, pending the outcome of an investigation into a bribery charge.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart started its wholesale cash-and-carry and back-end supply chain management operations in India in 2007 with Bharti Enterprises through their joint venture, Bharti Walmart Private Limited.
Last year, the companies announced the launch of Wal-Mart retail outlets by the end of 2013, following the Indian government’s decision to allowing foreign direct investment in the retail sector, enabling foreign players like Wal-Mart to sell multiple brands directly to consumers under one roof.
Wal-Mart is also facing a probe in India for allegedly violating the country's foreign exchange norms and has been accused of “clandestinely and illegally" investing $100 million in India’s retail market through Bharti Enterprises from 2010.
Wal-Mart announced, in November, that the company was investigating allegations of corrupt practices in foreign markets, including in India, as part of a worldwide review of its policies and practices to ensure compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the U.S.