Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has appointed company executive Murali Lanka as chief operations officer of its wholly-owned Indian subsidiary at a time when America’s largest retailer is seen reviving investments in India. Lanka is currently a general manager in Texas and his appointment is effective Dec. 1.
In his new role, he will report to Krish Iyer, chief executive of Wal-Mart India Pvt. Ltd., Walmart said in a statement on Friday. Lanka has worked at Walmart from 1989 and will be returning to Wal-Mart India, where, in an earlier position, he helped set up the company’s wholesale operations. India’s foreign ownership rules on multi-brand retail don’t allow Walmart to directly sell to retail consumers and the company’s 20 Indian wholesale stores cater to registered traders.
A joint venture with Indian billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises fell apart last year, in a setback to Walmart’s expansion plans in India. On Friday, the Bentonville company said in its statement that it expects to add another 50 stores in India by 2020.
It will also expand an online platform that currently caters to members at four of its 20 stores in India.