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A Walmart senior executive implicated in the Mexican bribery allegations roiling the retailer has resigned from his position on the board of MetLife to focus on defending his reputation.
Eduardo Castro-Wright, head of Walmart Mexico from 2002 to 2005, said in a letter on Tuesday to Steve Kandarian, MetLife’s chief executive, that due to “recent events” he was stepping down immediately from its board.
“I now must focus my energy in spending personal time with my family and in protecting my good name and business reputation,” he wrote.
According to a former Walmart Mexico official quoted by The New York Times, Mr Castro-Wright was “the driving force behind years of bribery”. The New York Times has alleged that Walmart covered up a campaign of bribery to secure permits for new stores in Mexico.
In his letter to Mr Kandarian, Mr Castro-Wright wrote: “It is my expectation that these outside distractions will be resolved favourably within the next several months.” He joined the MetLife board in 2008.
Rapidly growing sales made Mexico one of Walmart’s best performing overseas markets and helped Mr Castro-Wright to win promotion from his Mexican role to head Walmart’s giant US business in 2005.
He was once seen as a potential Walmart chief executive, but his tenure in the US coincided with a decline in sales and he was effectively demoted in 2010 to run Walmart’s ecommerce operations.
Late last year Walmart said he would retire from the company in July.