Walmart’s new tech chief comes from Google, Microsoft, Amazon
Walmart has tapped a veteran of Google, Microsoft and Amazon to lead its growing tech operation around the world.
On Tuesday, Walmart said it appointed Suresh Kumar to become its global chief technology officer and global chief development officer, a newly-created role at the company. Kumar will report directly to CEO Doug McMillon.
Kumar will assume the duties of Jeremy King, Walmart’s former tech chief. King left the retailer in March for Pinterest. Kumar will also take on expanded responsibilities to King’s former role, such as head of Walmart’s international tech operations and its global business services.
Kumar is currently at Google, where he works as vice president and general manager of display, video, app ads and analytics. Prior to Google, he was the corporate vice president of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and operations. Kumar also spent 15 years at Amazon in various leadership roles, including vice president of technology for retail systems and operations.
Walmart “is in the midst of a very exciting digital transformation,” Kumar said in a news release. “The potential for technology to help people at scale is unparalleled.”
Walmart has focused its investments in recent years on expanding online, instead of opening new stores. Last year, Walmart invested more than $5 billion in e-commerce, technology and its supply chain, while it spent just $313 million on store expansions. In 2018, Walmart also purchased online retailer Flipkart in India for $16 billion.
Walmart has also purchased a series of online brands such as Bonobos and Eloquii, and added grocery delivery as well as the option to buy online and pickup in store. Walmart’s digital sales grew 40% last year.
“We have started a significant digital transformation in our business, but we have a long way to go,” McMillon said in an internal email to Walmart staff. “We want to pick up the pace and increase the magnitude of change, so we’re creating a new role, reporting directly to me.”
Kumar will start on July 8, based out of Walmart’s Sunnyvale, California, office.