Wal-Mart on a poaching spree

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Reliance Retail (RRL) has lost two senior executives to Wal-Mart, signalling another round of hectic movements in India’s emerging retail sector.

S Ramesh, head of buying operations at RRL, is learnt to have put in his papers. He is scheduled to be joining Wal-Mart as head of sourcing operations. Another executive Abhinandan Shukla, looking after confectionery, is also learnt to have quit and headed for Wal-Mart.

S Ramesh was initially heading Wal-Mart’s sourcing office in Bangalore and contributed towards increasing Wal-Mart’s sourcing from India – which currently stands at around $650 million.

Another top executive slated to join Wal-Mart is the former chief marketing officer of Yum! India, Arvind Mediratta. He will join the retail major as senior VP of Wal-Mart’s cash-and-carry business, in April. Mediratta will be reporting to Raj Jain, who has been designated as president & CEO of Wal-Mart India.

Sources said Wal-Mart is scouring the country for retail talent with attractive terms. Those who have received offers said that apart from the 30-per-cent flat hike over existing remuneration packages, the world’s largest retailer is also throwing its five-day work schedule as a bait to lure talent.

Many executives are finding it hard to resist as domestic retailers rarely offer such conditions. While Reliance Retail has a six-day work schedule, the Pantaloon group has six-day work schedule twice a month. Both Reliance Retail and Wal-Mart declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the war for retail talent is expected to intensify as Wal-Mart progresses on its business plans in India. “Though the US retailer is not known to be a good employer, Indians would still like to work with it, for sometime at least, just to get the exposure.”

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