Reliance Retail is in the process of hiring close to 100 senior expat managers. Some 50-60 expats with 15-20 years of retail experience in global giants, such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury and Kroger, have already joined the company at an average compensation package of Rs 1-1.5 crore. Sources said the company is heavily drawing talent from South Africa and the Middle East.
It is learnt that Reliance Retail HR head Bijay Sahoo is abroad scouring the overseas markets for retail talent. Sources said about 25 seniors had been brought on board for supply chain management while another 30 executives would take care of operations, concept and strategy.
For instance, senior managers such as Scott Edward brought from Wal-Mart’s home ground the US and Charles Starbuck from a large retail house in Saudi Arabia are helping set up operations in the company. “Most expats are playing coaches to the top team and working on specific projects. They are largely consultants,” said a source.
While Reliance Retail spokesperson declined to comment, sources said the company’s overseas recruitment could touch 200 in the next 12-18 months. “The requirement for top talent is being fuelled by the aggressive plans of the company to cover 100 million sqft of retail space in four years. Bharti’s alliance with Wal-Mart has also pushed the company to work faster on its plans,” sources said.
Such is the desperation for people that RIL is quite open to even hire people right away, even if it means keeping them on the bench for some time. ET had earlier reported that Sr Ambani is keen on tapping the world’s best retail houses because he feels that no one knows the business better than those who have been running it successfully for over decades now.
Retail is an entirely new area for RIL and the company obviously does not want to repeat the teething troubles that Mukesh Ambani’s one-time dream project Reliance Infocomm faced, which was also a completely new business for Reliance.
Besides the West, Reliance Retail is also looking at the Middle East market which has a developed retail sector such as Dubai, Bahrain and Muscat, for merchandising and jewellery retail professionals.