Walmart U.S. e-commerce chief Marc Lore to depart

Brahm Buck

Jet.com founder Marc Lore, president and CEO of U.S. eCommerce at Walmart, plans to step down at the end of this month and leave the retail giant this fall. Walmart disclosed Lore’s upcoming departure in an 8-K filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Plans call for Lore, who’s […]

Jet.com founder Marc Lore, president and CEO of U.S. eCommerce at Walmart, plans to step down at the end of this month and leave the retail giant this fall.

Walmart disclosed Lore’s upcoming departure in an 8-K filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Plans call for Lore, who’s also a corporate executive vice president for Walmart, to step down from his e-commerce post on Jan. 31 and serve in a consulting role as a strategic adviser through September, according to the filing. Walmart said in the filing that Lore notified the company of his plan to retire yesterday.

Lore (left) joined Walmart in September 2016 with its $3.3 billion acquisition of Hoboken, N.J.-based Jet.com and subsequently was appointed Walmart U.S. eCommerce president and CEO. E-tailer Jet.com, for which Lore had served as CEO, functioned as a separate brand within Walmart and as a driver of digital innovation until it was folded into the Bentonville, Ark.-company’s core e-commerce operations in 2019.

Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon informed employees about Lore’s exit in a company memo on Friday. He didn’t announce a successor to Lore as head of U.S. e-commerce but said that, as of Feb. 1, the U.S. eCommerce retail team will report to John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S.

“It was nearly five years ago that Marc Lore and I got together in the Quail room to talk about a possible partnership between Walmart and Jet.com. As we started whiteboarding the future of retail, we found that we believed a lot of the same things, and we realized there was an opportunity to work together in a much bigger way than a partnership. Walmart went on to buy Jet, and Marc became the leader of our entire U.S. eCommerce business,” McMillon said in the memo.

Jet.comJet_delivery_boxes.png

Walmart acquired Jet.com for $3.3 billion in September 2016, and Lore subsequently was named as Walmart U.S. eCommerce president and CEO.

Lore led Walmart.com’s redesign, partnered with Furner to improve app design and “made the choice” to shift all e-commerce resources to Walmart.com instead of going with two online brands — Walmart and Jet — “because he became convinced of the potential of the Walmart brand,” McMillon explained. During Lore’s tenure, Walmart grew its online assortment from about 10 million items to more than 80 million, expanded and transformed its e-commerce fulfillment network, and enabled “same-day delivery on thousands of items, next-day delivery on hundreds of thousands of items and two-day delivery on millions of items,” McMillon noted.

“Marc committed to a minimum of five years with us, which I know felt like a long time for an entrepreneur like him, and that time has flown by,” he said in the memo. “We knew we needed time to build and scale the eCommerce business before combining our teams, and because of the progress we’ve all made, and the mindset we’ve all developed these past few years, we were able to successfully merge our teams last year. It has always been clear the customer wants one, seamless brand experience, and our ultimate approach would be an omni approach. With our structural changes behind us, we have concluded it’s time for Marc to transition out of his everyday role at Walmart and finish out the final months of his five-year commitment as a strategic adviser to the company.”

In an interview with Vox’s Recode technology news website, Lore said he now plans to pursue a multi-decade “lifelong project” to create “a city of the future” that will operate under a “reformed version of capitalism” and test a “new model for society.” He told Recode that he also aims to focus on philanthropy, nurturing startups and serving on public company boards, as well as on writing a book and developing a TV show.

Lore noted in a LinkedIn posting on Friday that he “joined forces with the world’s largest company on an aligned vision” with the decision to sell Jet.com to Walmart, a transaction that wasn’t about “selling out.”

“From the start I felt empowered by Doug [McMillon]. We had a shared vision for the future, and we felt like there was a really big opportunity to leverage the assets of Walmart, the assets at Jet, the people, bring it all together, and go after that big vision together,” Lore wrote in the blog. “And as great leaders do, Doug empowered me — ‘Here are the keys, Marc. You’re going to lead this thing.’ Seeing Doug put his faith in me made me want to give the very best I had. Walmart is proof that a big company can be fast and nimble, which goes back to having a great team and trusting and empowering them.”

Before starting Jet.com, Lore was the co-founder and CEO of Quidsi, the parent of Diapers.com, Soap.com, Wag.com and other e-commerce sites. The company was founded in 2005 and sold to Amazon in 2011 for $550 million. In addition, Lore was the co-founder and CEO of The Pit Inc., an Internet market-making collectible company designed as an alternative to eBay. The Pit was sold to Topps Co. in 2001. Prior to becoming a serial entrepreneur, Lore held a range of investment banking positions, including att Sanwa International Bank in London and at Credit Suisse First Boston.

In the LinkedIn blog, Lore called “everyone’s focus on the customer” as one of Walmart’s most admirable traits. “All of our progress is because of a lot of great people across the business, and of course John Furner,” Lore wrote. “He’s been a great partner through the years in both building the business and creating the integrated, omni U.S. team we now have today. It aligns with how customers expect us to act, and I can’t wait to see what the team delivers next.”

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