Walmart has appointed a Google and Amazon veteran Suresh Kumar to a newly elevated Chief Technology Officer and Chief Development Officer Role, reporting directly to President and CEO Doug McMillon. He will join the company on July 8.
The CTO role was previously held by Jeremy King who left the company in March this year to join Pinterest as its head of engineering. While King’s role was largely US-centric, Kumar’s role will be a global one, overseeing all of the technology organizations for Walmart U.S./Walmart Labs, Sam’s Club, International technology and Global Business Services, the company said in a statement.
Kumar most recently served as vice president and general manager of the display, video, app ads and analytics at Google. Before that, he was the corporate vice president of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and operations.
Kumar has also spent about 15 years in Amazon across various leadership roles including vice president of technology for retail systems and operations and leading the company’s retail supply chain and inventory management systems. He has over 25 years of technology leadership experience.
“The technology of today and tomorrow enables us to serve our customers and associates in ways that weren’t previously possible. We want to take full advantage of those opportunities,” said McMillon. “Suresh has a unique understanding of the intersection of technology and retail, including supply chain, and has deep experience in advertising, cloud and machine learning. And, he has a track record of working in partnership with business teams to drive results.”
“With more than 11,000 stores, a high-growth eCommerce business and more than two million associates worldwide, the potential for technology to help people at scale is unparalleled, and I am excited to be part of this” Kumar said.
The appointment comes at a time when Walmart is racing to transform its e-commerce business and close the gap with rival Amazon. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer’s e-commerce success has been erratic over the years, but sales growth in the past few quarters have shown signs of consistency.
Earlier this month, Walmart said the gross profit rate and operating income in its international business fell primarily due to Flipkart’s inclusion in this year’s financial performance.
International operating income was down 38% in constant currency and 42% on a reported basis. “A large part of the decline was due to dilution from Flipkart, which was expected, partially offset by the deconsolidation of Brazil,” said Walmart CFO Brett Biggs in the management commentary statement while declaring its earnings results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019.