Wal-Mart's Castro-Wright quits MetLife board

Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:49pm EDT

1 of 2. A general view of a Wal-Mart store in Mexico City, April 24, 2012. Wal-Mart Stores Inc lost $10 billion of its market value on Monday on concerns that a bribery investigation in Mexico could be very costly and hinder its plans to grow. In a sign that the problem was widening for the world's largest retailer, two U.S. lawmakers said they were launching their own investigation into allegations in a New York Times article that Wal-Mart de Mexico had engaged in a multi-year campaign of bribery to build its business. In Mexico, the front-running presidential candidate, Enrique Pena Nieto, and lawmakers also called on local authorities to investigate. The banner reads, 'Low prices, every day, in everything'.

Credit: Reuters/Edgard Garrido

(Reuters) - Embattled Wal-Mart vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright has resigned from the board of MetLife, the largest life insurer in the United States, the company said on Tuesday.

"Over the past weekend, I notified you of recent events that will require my immediate and personal attention," Castro-Wright said in a letter to MetLife Chief Executive Officer Steve Kandarian, a copy of which was filed with securities regulators.

"Accordingly, I now must focus my energy in spending personal time with my family and in protecting my good name and business reputation," he added at the end of the letter.

Castro-Wright was named in a weekend New York Times report as a key figure in an alleged foreign bribery scandal at Wal-Mart.

Castro-Wright, who joined the board in March 2008 and whose term was not due to expire until 2014, sat on three committees: investment, compensation and governance and corporate responsibility.

His 2011 compensation was $259,124 in cash and stock awards, according to MetLife's proxy. The company also paid premiums on a $200,000 life insurance policy for him. He held nearly 17,000 MetLife shares as of March 1, the proxy noted.

MetLife shares rose nearly 0.5 percent to $35.55 in late trading. The shares rallied in the minutes after the company announced Castro-Wright's departure.

(Reporting By Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Gary Hill; editing by Carol Bishopric)