In an effort to buff up its tech portfolio to compete with eCommerce competitors, Walmart has announced the hiring of former Amazon and Google exec Suresh Kumar into a newly elevated role of chief technology and chief development officer.
The company said that Kumar would lend his tech expertise to help transition the retail giant’s customer and associate experiences in a press release on Tuesday. The CTO role will report directly to Walmart’s president and CEO, Doug McMillon.
“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.
The announcement comes after Walmart lost its CTO Jeremy King to Pinterest in March.
Kumar was most recently at Google, where he worked as vice president and general manager of display, video, app ads and analytics. Prior to Google, he served as a corporate vice president of cloud infrastructure and operations at Microsoft. He also worked for Amazon for 15 years in various senior positions, including vice president of technology for retail systems and operations.
“Walmart is one of the great success stories in how a company evolves over time to serve the changing needs of its customers, and today, it is in the midst of a very exciting digital transformation,” said Kumar. “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.”
It appears the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer is now in a heated competition with popular eCommerce platform Amazon. In recent years Walmart has focused its efforts into expanding online services, instead of opening new stores. Some notable moves include heavy investment in online grocery ordering, as well as pickup and delivery options, and the purchase of a series of digital brands, such as Bonobos and Eloquii.
“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,” continued McMillon. “And, he has a track record of working in partnership with business teams to drive results.”
Kumar will start on July 8, based out of Walmart’s Sunnyvale, California, office.