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Walmart CTO departs after laying digital groundwork

Author: Samantha Ann Schwartz

Source: Retail Dive

  • Walmart CTO Jeremy King is leaving after almost eight years, according to a company memo from President and CEO of Walmart U.S. Greg Foran, and President and CEO of Walmart U.S. e-commerce Marc Lore, given to sister publication CIO Dive. His last day will be March 29.
  • King is leaving the retailer for a non-competing company, according to a company spokesperson. During his tenure, King led Walmart Labs' acquisitions, opened four more tech offices and set Walmart up as a "user of, and contributor to, the open source community," according to the memo.
  • A replacement has not been named yet, but Fiona Tan, senior vice president of consumer technology for Walmart Labs will take on an elevated role in the interim to work as a "liaison for technology and Walmart U.S. and U.S. eCommerce leadership," according to the memo.

King came to Walmart during a pivotal time. As the company raced to provide for the digital customer, King facilitated partnerships with Microsoft, Google and NIVIDIA. 

Walmart has been heads down with its approach to technology, expanding its technology center in Austin, Texas, to accommodate a mix of its own engineers and Microsoft's. Working so closely with a cloud vendor and using the cloud has allowed the retailer to change its "ways of working to essentially a startup orientation, if you will," King told CIO Dive in an interview in September.

King broke down teams to run like individual startups because "in the end it's a million person associate army," he said, referring to Walmart's global workforce. As of 2018, Amazon and Walmart were nearly neck and neck in tech hiring, with the retailer looking for 2,000 more technologists to fill its Walmart Labs unit.

Partnered with CIO Clay Johnson, King focused on retail, replenishment, self checkout and e-commerce. With the input of Johnson, King was often tasked with mobile application development for store associates.

"Clay and I sort of tagged team on this where I develop the apps and he asks how to bring costs down on mobile devices, integrating IoT inside the store," said King.

While Tan temporarily takes over King's responsibilities, "all of Jeremy's directs will continue to lead their teams" and will report to Foran and Lore, according to the memo.

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