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In November 2018, KPMG NZ and Kea hosted global retail expert and World Class New Zealander Greg Foran, President and CEO of Walmart US. From an early career packing Woolworths supermarket shelves, this remarkable and down-to-earth Kiwi has gone on to lead the world’s biggest retail chain, and now employs 1.4 million people.



In November 2018, KPMG New Zealand hosted a Retail Customer Experience Excellence event with the Kiwi CEO of Walmart US, Greg Foran. The high-flying New Zealander was invited to speak alongside Ian Williamson, KPMG Management Consulting Partner and Baxter McConnell, KPMG Customer Experience Excellence Lead, sharing perspectives on excellent customer experience.  

Greg Foran is not only a global retail expert, but also a Kiwi expatriate who is passionate about helping Kiwi businesses succeed.

At the event, Greg discussed the importance of empathy, which he views as a critical element for Kiwi SMEs to build a strong and memorable impression in customers minds. He also shared how Walmart strives to be the shop that anchors the heart of neighbourhoods, exemplifying its purpose to tighten societies together. Greg also noted that Walmart enjoys its success by building a culture where employees can learn from their peers, role models and be fully immersed in an environment where everyone strives to be customer-centric. The first step for Kiwi SMEs to take is to put themselves in the customers' shoes, starting from the CEO. 

Overall, 3 key things that Greg believes Kiwi SMEs need to do to succeed:

  • Get down to the "unvarnished truth" through building the right team.
  • Assess their companies at face value.
  • Strive to understand their targeted customers.


Who is Greg Foran?

From an early career packing supermarket shelves in Hamilton in the '70s, Kiwi-born Greg Foran has gone on to become President and CEO of the world’s biggest retail chain: Walmart US.

Greg is today responsible for the strategic direction and performance of more than 1.3 million people and 4,000 Walmart stores. Since his appointment, the World Class New Zealander has been active in store visits and finding the flaws in Walmart’s operations. Greg is trying to improve the customer experience through aggressive pricing and improved shopping environment. He also hopes to accelerate merging digital with physical stores.

Greg is a 35-year retail veteran with extensive experience in marketing, operational and executive roles. He most recently served as president and CEO of Walmart Asia and was responsible for the company’s operations in China, Japan and India, as well as business development throughout the continent. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Walmart China, and his team made significant progress with its assortment, pricing, store operations and compliance as Greg led strategic investments in the supply chain and improved the store portfolio. Greg joined Walmart International in 2011 as a senior vice president.

Prior to Walmart, Greg held a number of roles with Woolworths. He served as the managing director of supermarkets, liquor and petrol with responsibility for more than $40 billion in sales at that time. Under Greg’s leadership, the business grew sales and market share in a strong competitive market. Earlier in his career, Greg served as general manager of Big W, Woolworths’ industry leading discount store business and as general manager of Dick Smith Electronics. His experience includes operations, merchandising, marketing and replenishment.

KPMG events like the one with Greg Foran promote open discussion and the sharing of insights and ideas across industries from influential leaders of New Zealand’s most recognised and trusted brands.

KPMG recognises six pillars of customer experience excellence, including personalisation, integrity, expectation, resolution, time and effort, and empathy. KPMG research shows that that the greatest driver of customer loyalty for New Zealand retailers is personalisation, while the top opportunities for improvement for NZ retailers are expectation and empathy, areas where global brands excel.

For more information about KPMG’s offerings to Kea members we recommend reading:
And, for help on how to imbed a great customer experience in your organisation that will ultimately benefit your customers and bottom line, feel free to contact KPMG's New Zealand Customer Experience Lead, Baxter McConnell.


We have more articles about Kea's incredible World Class New Zealanders in Our Stories:

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