With Walmart India promoting Sameer Aggarwal to Deputy Chief Executive Officer, he is widely believed to succeed current CEO Krish Iyer who retires later this year. “Sameer Aggarwal has been appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Walmart India effective 1st January 2020. He will continue reporting to Krish Iyer, President & CEO Walmart India, and oversee operations, merchandising, people, marketing, real estate, kirana development programme, digital, eCommerce and strategy,” a company spokesperson said.
This is the second major promotion for Aggarwal in under less than two years at Walmart India. A retail expert who worked with Yum Brands in Thailand and UK retailer Sainsbury’s in London, Aggarwal joined Walmart India in April 2018 as Chief Strategy and Administrative Officer. Soon after he was made Chief Business Officer in December last year.
Walmart India owns and runs 27 ‘Best Price Modern Wholesale Stores’, offering nearly 5,000 items in a Cash & Carry wholesale format. In addition, Walmart India also has three Fulfilment Centres in India in Mumbai, Lucknow, and Hyderabad. (A fulfilment centre is a third-party logistics (3PL) warehouse, where incoming orders are received, processed, and filled.)
It was in 2007 that Walmart first entered India through a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises called Bharti-Walmart as India did not allow foreign multi-brand giants like Walmart to open or run front-end stores in the country.
The operating principle was crafted to work around the existing regulations. So Walmart’s cash-and-carry stores supplies goods directly to Bharti Retail, the retail subsidiary of Bharti Enterprises, which was the consumer-facing end of the business model. The Bharti stores then serviced small businesses and mom-and-pop shops. At the backend, Walmart provided infrastructure and technical support and waited out until India allowed foreign retailers to set up fully-owned retail stores.
It was in 2009, that Bharti-Walmart’s first store came up in Amritsar and by 2017 Walmart had added another 20 stores in the country.
In 2018, Walmart announced that it had acquired a 77% stake in India’s largest e-commerce firm, Flipkart, for a high-profile $16 billion (Rs. 1.06 lakh crore). The deal is expected give the American retailer a direct link to a market that is expected to be worth $200 billion by 2026.