The world’s largest food manufacturer has raided the world’s largest retailer for its new finance chief.

Nestlé has named Wan Ling Martello as its new chief financial officer, after Jim Singh announced his retirement next year.

Martello comes on board from Walmart, where she is currently executive vice president of global e-commerce and emerging markets. She joined the retail giant from Kraft Foods in 2005.

Her appointment has been greeted as a surprise by some observers, who had expected a successor to Singh to be promoted from within.

“[Martello’s strong experience in finance and the food and beverage business, both from the industry and retail angle, will allow her to further enhance the Nestlé model,” said the manufacturer’s chief executive, Paul Bulcke.

Singh will step down at the end of March. He has held the post since 2008, when he replaced Paul Polman – now boss of Unilever.

Bulcke added: “Jim has strong human qualities and is a highly respected professional [who] has been instrumental in steering Nestlé through these last challenging years.”

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