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Exclusive: Walmart’s Chief Technology Officer leaves company as e-commerce wars flare

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – the Walmart Inc. Chief Technology Officer Jeremy King is leaving the company, according to an internal memo, even as the retailer races to transform its e-commerce and close the gap with rival Amazon.com Inc.

The wal-mart logo is seen outside one of the shops in Chicago, Illinois, usa, 20 November 2018. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

The king, who joined the company in 2011 led a revamp of Walmart in the US. e-commerce technology platform, making it faster, more competitive and customer-friendly, all of which are crucial for the retailer’s struggle against its e-commerce rivals.

Under King, Walmart integrated its huge stores and online systems and started offering shoppers services such as in-store pick up of online orders, easy returns, and online shopping pick-up, among other benefits.

King also led the company’s technology arm, Walmart Labs, through more than 10 acquisitions, and was the key to the move of the activities of the company to the cloud, allowing the retailer more resources to compete with Amazon. He is also responsible for the opening of four new tech offices.

In the past two years, the King responsible for the technical implementation of Walmart’s approximately 4,700 U.S. stores.

Fiona Tan, senior vice-president of customer technology, Walmart Labs, take on more responsibility as King of the replacement is found. She is asked to be a liaison for the technology team, Walmart us and the US e-commerce leadership team, according to the memo, a copy of which Reuters has seen.

King’s departure comes at a time when Walmart is in the middle of making huge investments in the e-commerce business to compete more effectively. In February, the company said that it expects the e-commerce losses to increase this year as a result of ongoing investments and it is aimed at increase of return visits from customers and the strengthening of the online assortment.

The retailer’s e-commerce success has been irregular over the years, but the growth in sales in the recent quarters has signs of consistency.

In the most recent quarter, online sales grew by 43 percent, compared with the previous quarter increase. The company credited that a wider range of goods on its website, and improved delivery and store pick-up of online grocery orders.

“The operational decisions at the time of (King) were the key to the success of our technology team, and has led to more agile way of working,” said the memo sent on Wednesday to the wal-mart staff by the U.S. Chief Executive Greg Foran and the AMERICAN e-commerce chief Marc Lore.

“During Jeremy’s tenure, we have made important relationships with Microsoft, Google, NVIDIA and others that will help you carry our digital transformation in the future,” the memo said.

It was not immediately clear what the King is planning to do as soon as he leaves the store. His last day with the company on March 29, according to the memo.

Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Dan Grebler

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