SOUTH AFRICA – Massmart, Walmart owned South African retailer, has announced that the newly appointed chief executive Mitchell Slape will assume office from September 1, 2019.
In May, Walmart announced it was sending in Slape, one of its top executives, to take over from Massmart CEO Guy Hayward.
Massmart said on Friday Slape’s appointment as CEO “is confirmed for September 1” following the approval and granting of his intra-company transfer permit and visa to work in South Africa.
While Hayward will step down from the role at the end of August, he will remain at the company until December “to ensure a smooth handover and transition”, Massmart said.
The appointment of a Walmart veteran is set to streamline the company’s performance as the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed firm has been losing market share to rivals such as e-commerce site Takealot.
In July, Massmart said that it expects to report an operating loss of up to US$1.96 million (R30m) for the 26 weeks ended June 2019 since- its first trading loss listing on the JSE in 2000.
Slape has extensive leadership experience across a range of retail formats and Walmart markets, including the United States, Japan, India and Mexico. He has been working with Walmart since 1995.
He has served in previous positions at Walmart which include chief operating officer of Walmart’s business in Japan and senior vice-president of international business development at Walmart International.
Slape is also expected to guide the retailer’s growth and expansion plan. Early this year, Massmart announced plans of opening 47 new stores between 2019 and 2021, with about a third of the new space outside its home market – Kenya and Zambia being its major focus markets.
The retailer has been making copoorate governance changes in the recent past as it seeks to streamline its operation.
In May this year, Massmart appointed Mohammed Abdool-Samad as the chief financial officer effective. The Ex-Illovo Sugar CFO assumed office on August 1.
Massmart is the second largest retailer in South Africa with majority of its stake controlled by US based Walmart Inc. The retailer also has presence in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.