Walmart India has appointed Sameer Aggarwal, a former executive at American fast-food chain restaurant Kentucky Fried Chicken, as executive vice president and chief strategy and administrative officer, a company statement said.
Aggarwal, whose appointment becomes effective on April 2, will lead the finance, technology, legal, audit and strategy functions. He will report to Krish Iyer, president and chief executive of Walmart India, the statement added.
“Sameer brings with him more than two decades of global experience in general management, strategy, finance and mergers and acquisitions. Sam’s experience in retail and his functional expertise are perfectly suited for aligning our transformation and growth journey with our core business strengths while serving our members uniquely and in the most efficient ways,” Iyer said in the statement.
A chartered accountant and a management graduate from the London Business School, Aggarwal, in his previous assignment, served as the chief finance, development and supply chain head for KFC in Thailand. Prior to that, he worked with supermarket chain Sainsbury’s in the UK and China as head of strategy. He has also worked with management consulting firm McKinsey & Company in the UK and Australia.
This is Walmart India’s second senior-level appointment over the past seven months. In July 2017, the company hired Devendra Chawla, the former CEO of Future Consumer Limited (FCL) as its executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Aggarwal’s appointment comes amid speculation that Walmart will initially acquire 20-26% stake in homegrown e-commerce major Flipkart. Media reports have stated that the US retailer will then increase that to 51% by investing a further $10-12 billion, all in tranches.
Walmart’s deal with Flipkart will help it take on Amazon in India, which has a significant lead in the e-commerce business in the country. Similarly, Amazon also has a head start in the food processing and retail business when it procured a license from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion last year. Last month, Amazon Retail India Ltd, which runs the firm’s food retail operations, quietly rolled out a pilot programme in Pune.
Earlier in the day, The Economic Times reported that a significant portion of Walmart’s proposed investment in Flipkart will be used to build infrastructure including food parks, cold chain, collection centres, sorting and grading facilities, centres for food excellence and allied facilities. This is very much in line with its global strategy of leading the market in the food and grocery segment, its biggest revenue spinner.