Walmart Latam CEO named; Solorzano still Walmex chair

Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:17pm EST

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) said on Friday that Enrique Ostale will become president and chief executive of Walmart Latin America, succeeding Eduardo Solorzano, who will continue to serve as chairman of the board of directors at Wal-Mart de Mexico (WALMEXV.MX).

The move comes as the world's largest retailer remains under fire following a New York Times report in April 2012 that said Wal-Mart had intentionally stifled an early internal probe into allegations that Walmex officials had paid bribes to help build stores in Mexico.

Solorzano's career at Walmex began in 1985. According to the Times reporting, and to emails released by U.S. lawmakers on Thursday, Wal-Mart executives were made aware of alleged bribery in the fall of 2005.

Solorzano became the CEO of Walmex in early 2005 and held that role until early 2010, when he became president and CEO of Walmart Latin America.

Ostale had been president and CEO of Walmart Chile, formerly known as D&S, and will take on his new role in Mexico City on March 1, Wal-Mart said. He will be responsible for operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua, which include 3,832 retail units and 373,000 employees.

Walmex's chief operating officer, Gian Carlo Nucci, will replace Ostale as president and CEO of Walmart Chile. Nucci joined Walmex in 1993.

Ostale joined D&S in 1989, left in 2000 and returned in 2006. Wal-Mart bought D&S in 2009. Wal-Mart said Ostale was key in leading the transformation of D&S to Walmart Chile.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago, additional reporting by Cyntia Barrera Diaz in Mexico City; Editing by John Wallace, Nick Zieminski)