September 27/Zurich, Switzerland/MarketWatch -- Swiss food and beverages giant Nestle SA appointed Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executive Wan Ling Martello as its chief financial officer, replacing Jim Singh, who will retire next spring.

Martello, currently Walmart's executive vice president of global e-commerce for emerging markets, which is one of the fastest-growing business segments of the world's largest retailer, is scheduled to assume her new role April 1, 2012, after Singh's retirement.

Nestle chief executive Paul Bulcke said, "I am confident that Wan Ling will blend well into the Nestle culture." He added that "her strong experience in finance and the food and beverage business, both from the industry and retail angle, will allow her to further enhance the Nestle model combining top-line growth with continuous margin improvement and an improved return on invested capital."

Martello from 1985-95 worked for Kraft Foods in finance and business administration. She later moved to Borden Foods Corp. as corporate controller and from 1998-2005 was with NCH Marketing Services Inc as CFO, chief operating officer and then president of its U.S. business.

For the past six years, Martello gained in-depth knowledge of the retail and e-commerce business at Walmart.

"Besides her financial background, Wan Ling also has extensive insight of the consumer and branded goods category and is perfectly prepared to assume this crucial role in our group," Nestle said.

Analysts welcomed the planned management reshuffle, saying Martello's appointment reflects Nestle's growing push into emerging economies and its interest in getting a better understanding of e-commerce.

Nestle, which already generates more than 30% of its sales in emerging markets, aims to generate about 45% of its overall sales from emerging markets by 2020 as it hopes to tap into a fast-growing consumer base of affluent clients in Asia and Latin America.

Although emerging markets have come under pressure of late because of higher raw material costs and price increases, the region is set to outpace tepid growth in industrialized regions. Analysts say that with additional e-commerce efforts, high sales growth momentum can be maintained.

Bulcke thanked Singh for his contribution to the company, saying, "Since I became CEO I have been able to appreciate the full extent to which Jim has been instrumental in steering Nestle through these last challenging years."

 From the September 29, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.