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Walmart US boss flies home as incoming Air NZ CEO

Friday 11th October 2019

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Air New Zealand has appointed Greg Foran, currently chief executive of Walmart US, as its new CEO from early next year.

Foran, a New Zealander, joined Walmart International in 2011, where he carried out a number of roles including president and CEO of Walmart China. He took up his current role in 2014 and has been responsible for the strategic direction and performance of the company’s 4,600 stores and more than 1 million staff, Air New Zealand said in a statement. 

Last year Walmart US served more than 160 million customers a week and had revenues of US$307 billion. 

He will take up the reins of Air New Zealand in the first quarter of 2020. He replaces Christopher Luxon who resigned effective Sep. 25. Chief Financial Officer Jeff McDowall is currently acting CEO. 

Luxon also carved out an executive career in North America, running Unilever Canada before returning home for a role at the national carrier. 

Walmart put out a separate statement naming a new CEO for Walmart US and said Foran will stay on through Jan. 31 to "ensure a smooth transition." 

“We are thrilled to have attracted a world-class Kiwi back home. Greg has an impeccable track record in delivering strong commercial performance, outstanding customer focus and in building teams that can take a business to the next level," said Air New Zealand chair Therese Walsh. 

“Air New Zealand is immensely important across many spectrums, from not just timely and convenient travel but also to tourism and the environment, community support and innovation, to name but a few. I want Air New Zealand to continue to be at the forefront of its industry across the world and to deliver strong commercial results in the process," Foran said. 

Foran will take the helm as the national carrier faces a series of headwinds such as higher jet fuel costs and weakening global markets for air travel as well as a domestic slowdown that is impacting travel at home. 

In August, Air New Zealand said it is forecasting earnings before taxation to be in a range of $350-450 million in the year to June 2020, based on current market conditions and an average jet fuel price of US$75 per barrel. Earnings before taxation were $374 million in the year to June 30, 2019, down 31 percent on the year. 

The shares last traded at $2.83 and are down around 9 percent this year. 

(BusinessDesk)

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