Air New Zealand’s Board of Directors has appointed Greg Foran as the airline’s next chief executive officer.
In a statement, the New Zealand flag carrier said Foran will take up the position in the first quarter of 2020.
Currently, he is president and CEO of Walmart US, where he is responsible for the strategic direction and performance of the company’s 4,600 stores and more than 1 million staff.
Air New Zealand chair Therese Walsh says Foran, who grew up in Hastings and Hamilton, will be an outstanding leader of the airline.
“We are thrilled to have attracted a world-class Kiwi back home. Greg has an impeccable track record in delivering strong commercial performance, outstanding customer focus and in building teams that can take a business to the next level,” Walsh said in a statement.
Foran took up his current role at US retail giant Walmart in 2014. He joined Walmart International in 2011 where he served in a number of capacities, including as president and CEO of Walmart China and then president and CEO of Walmart Asia up until he assumed his US role.
Before joining Walmart, Foran held a number of positions with Woolworths in Australia and New Zealand.
“I am an incredibly proud Kiwi and to be given the job of nurturing and building on the legacy of an iconic company that represents the best of our nation at home and around the world really excites me. Air New Zealand is deservedly recognised as one of the world’s great airlines and I look forward to working alongside its people to take it to the next level,” Foran said.
“Air New Zealanders have an absolute love and passion for the business and their level of customer focus and care is one of the airline’s competitive advantages that I look forward to building on.”
At Walmart US, Foran will be replaced by the head of its Sam’s Club warehouse chain unit, John Furner.
Foran's exit is seen as a blow for Walmart were the Kiwi native is credited for turning around the retail giant's US business. Reports said Walmart saw 20 quarters of comparable sales growth under Foran's leadership.
Meanwhile, Foran said he is privileged to have been given the opportunity to grow an iconic and critical New Zealand company and brand on the global stage.
“Air New Zealand is immensely important across many spectrums, from not just timely and convenient travel but also to tourism and the environment, community support and innovation, to name but a few. I want Air New Zealand to continue to be at the forefront of its industry across the world and to deliver strong commercial results in the process.”