Top Kiwi executive 'driven' to succeed

Ex-pat Kiwi Greg Foran has been named as head of Wal-Mart's US division.
Ex-pat Kiwi Greg Foran has been named as head of Wal-Mart's US division.

The famous son of the New Zealander taking the helm at retail giant Walmart says his dad was always driven to succeed, and instilled those values in his kids.

Greg Foran was last week named chief executive of the company's US division, and starts the role next month.

His son Kieran Foran plays professional league for NRL club Manly, and after yesterday's win over the Warriors he spoke with pride about his father's success.

"He's worked his ass off to try and get in that sort of position and I couldn't be more over the moon for him.

"He's a very driven man. Anyone that knows him, anyone that has grown up with dad knows that he's got very high drive levels."

Foran - the rugby league version - said his father tried to pass that drive on to his children.

"I know growing up as a young fella he always wanted us to be the best that we could be.

Both my parents wanted that.

"He's just a very driven man and I guess he just tried to pass that down to us kids that whatever we were going to do, try and do it to the best of your ability."

Greg Foran said it was too early to know what impact he would have on Walmart.

Speaking from his home in Hong Kong last night, the 53-year-old said he was "really honoured and privileged to have the opportunity" to be heading the world's biggest retail chain.

"There's also a reasonably high degree of apprehension because its a pretty sizeable role," he said.

"You know, 1.3 million associates are going to make sure I get up early in the morning and work late at night and a few million customers to serve everyday."

Mr Foran has been with Walmart for nearly three years, and was president and CEO of Walmart Asia, after previously leading its China operation.

He and his wife will soon move from Hong Kong to Walmart's head office in the small town of Bentonville, Arkansas.

Bentonville was a "typical American town" of about 30,000 people in the mid-west, Mr Foran said.

"It's a small country town -- it's a bit like having the world's largest company in Tokoroa."

Being offered the role was an acknowledgement that anyone could move to the top in the business world, he said.

"You work hard and you learn your trade and get the results and if you're in the right spot at the right time, you can get a chance.

"I think it shows the world is becoming more global -- maybe in some ways a little less local."

Last night he watched his son's team take on the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium, and was thrilled at Manly's 22-12 win.

"I'm an avid Manly fan now," he said.

Greg Foran began his career packing supermarket shelves in Hamilton in the 1970s, and in the 1990s was one of two men Warehouse founder Stephen Tindall hand-picked to be his potential successor.

In his new Walmart role, it was understood his annual salary would be US$950,000 (NZ$1,111,570) and he would be in line for company stock options based on performance.


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