Walmart sacks around 50 executives in India restructuring: sources

Walmart’s acquisition of a 77 percent stake in Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart for $16 billion has been met by protests from the country’s small and medium businesses. (AFP)
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Updated 13 January 2020

Walmart sacks around 50 executives in India restructuring: sources

  • The move underscores the struggles Walmart has faced in expanding its wholesale business in India
  • Walmart has placed bold bets on India’s e-commerce sector

NEW DELHI: Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has fired around 50 of its India executives as part of its restructuring in the country, three sources with direct knowledge told Reuters.
The move underscores the struggles Walmart has faced in expanding its wholesale business in India. The Bentonville, Arkansas based company currently operates 28 wholesale stores where it sells goods to small shopkeepers, and not to retail consumers.
The firings mostly affected executives in the company’s real estate division because the growth in the wholesale model has not been that robust, two of the sources said.
“It’s happening because focus is shifting to e-commerce rather than physical (stores),” said one source, who declined to be identified as the decision is not public.
Walmart did not respond to a request for comment.
Walmart has placed bold bets on India’s e-commerce sector. In 2018, it paid $16 billion to acquire a majority stake in India’s online marketplace Flipkart, in its biggest global acquisition.
The second source added that while Walmart could slow down the pace of opening new wholesale stores, the focus will increasingly be on boosting sales through business-to-business and retail e-commerce.
Some of the executives were sacked last week and more could be let go on Monday, two sources said.
In a statement to India’s Economic Times newspaper, which first reported the news, Walmart said it was always looking for ways to operate more effectively and that “this requires us to review our corporate structure to ensure that we are organized in the right way to best meet the needs of our members.”
Walmart has around 600 staff in its India head office out of a total of around 5,300 nationally, one of the sources said.


NMC Health removes CEO amid investigation of UAE firm’s finances

Updated 27 February 2020

NMC Health removes CEO amid investigation of UAE firm’s finances

  • Chief Executive Prasanth Manghat was dismissed with immediate effect
  • Chief Operating Officer Michael Davis was appointed as interim CEO

NMC Health has removed Chief Executive Prasanth Manghat with immediate effect and granted its finance chief extended sick leave, as more details emerge from an investigation into the UAE health care firm’s finances.
Abu-Dhabi based NMC said after Wednesday’s market close that it had appointed Chief Operating Officer Michael Davis as interim CEO to succeed Manghat and said Chief Financial Officer Prashanth Shenoy had been placed on longer leave.
Manghat had been with NMC for about 10 years in various roles, including deputy CEO and CFO, and had seen the company through its 2012 listing on the London Stock Exchange.
The moves are the latest blow for the firm whose shares have lost about two thirds of their value since US-based short-seller Muddy Waters late last year questioned its financial statements.
NMC had said at the time that the report was “false and misleading,” but had opened its own investigation into company finances. The review is being led by Louis Freeh, who was director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States from 1993 to mid-2001.
NMC on Wednesday said the investigation committee had identified supply chain financing arrangements that were entered into by the company and “which are understood to have been used” by entities controlled by founder BR Shetty and former vice-chair Khaleefa Butti Omair Yousif Ahmed Al Muhairi.
Reuters was unable to reach Manghat, Shetty and Muhairi for comment outside business hours on NMC’s latest statement.
The company, which operates clinics and hospitals, specialized maternity and fertility clinics, and long-term care homes in 19 countries, said the committee was reviewing a drawdown of its facilities that had not been disclosed or approved by the board.
Its shares closed 6.6% higher before Wednesday’s statement.
NMC also said it had suspended a member of its treasury team over possible discrepancies in its bank statements and ledger entries, and said it would be unable to publish its annual results till at least the end of April.
Indian billionaire Shetty resigned as NMC’s co-chairman this month, after British regulators said they were looking into NMC following a disclosure that he had misstated the size of his stake.
Shetty had said this month that his NMC shareholdings were under a legal review looking into a large portion of his shares signed to two of NMC’s top investors in 2017, while some of his other stock had been pledged as security against loans.