While the break-up of the Bharti-Walmart JV was expected to an extent, what really came as a surprise was the appointment of Raj Jain, the former India head of Wal-Mart and CEO of the the JV, as an advisor to the Bharti Group on Wednesday. A Bharti Group spokesperson confirmed the appointment. Sources said that in his role as advisor, Jain would look after the group’s retail business.
“The appointment will be effective soon, but I cannot share the details of my role right now,” Jain said.
The development is significant because Jain was eased out as the head of the JV firm and Wal-Mart India head in June and replaced by Ramnik Narsey. Though the exact reason for Jain’s exit was not disclosed by Wal-Mart, it came at a time when the company was being probed over allegations of corruption in foreign markets, including India.
Prior to Jain's exit, Wal-Mart had also sacked CFO Pankaj Madan, who was also later hired by Bharti Airtel.
Jain had joined Walmart in 2006 and was named head of Wal-Mart India in 2007. During his tenure, the company set up the wholesale cash-and-carry joint venture with Bharti Enterprises, back-end services and consulting businesses.