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Greg Foran to Head Wal-Mart’s Asian Division

The company is hoping to gain a stronger foothold in China.

Greg Foran, who was named president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart China in February 2012, has been chosen to head the discounter’s troubled Asian division, where store closures and weak sales have been thwarting the retailer’s efforts to reverse slowing growth in the U.S.

Foran, a 30-year retail veteran who joined Wal-Mart in 2011, began his career in New Zealand and Australia, starting with a part-time job stocking shelves and eventually becoming head of Woolworths’ Supermarket Division.

Foran’s operational skills were cited as one of the reasons for the announcement. Wal-Mart is hoping to gain a stronger foothold in China.

When he took the China position, Foran succeeded Scott Price, who was then president and ceo of Wal-Mart Asia and interim ceo of Wal-Mart China. Now Foran is again taking over Price’s role.

Price will return to Wal-Mart’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters to become executive vice president of international strategy, including development and real estate and mergers and acquisitions.

Foran will be succeeded by China chief operating officer Sean Clarke, who will become the ceo of Wal-Mart China.

Price joined the retailer in 2009 as Asia ceo. Under Price’s tenure, Wal-Mart initiated a program in Asia to comply with stringent U.S. antibribery laws and dealt with the Indian government’s fluctuating position on foreign investors being allowed to open retail outlets.

Prior to Wal-Mart, Price was ceo of DHL Express in Europe and Asia-Pacific, and held several positions for Coca-Cola in China.

Foran, Price and Clarke’s new positions are effective June 1.