Walmart Inc. hired an executive who has held senior roles at Google, Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. as its new technology chief, while expanding and elevating the role.
Suresh Kumar will join Walmart July 8 as the retailer’s chief technology officer and chief development officer, reporting to Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon. He’ll be based out of the company’s Sunnyvale, California, office.
Kumar, 54, fills a void left by the March departure of Jeremy King, Walmart’s longtime CTO, who had spearheaded the company’s customer-facing digital efforts. Kumar’s beefed-up role will also include internal systems and tools that are used to engage with the company’s vast supplier network and its 2.2 million employees. Most recently Kumar served as vice president and general manager of display and video ads, apps and analytics at Google, and before that was a vice president at Microsoft’s cloud business. Prior to that he spent 15 years at Walmart rival Amazon, where he led the e-commerce giant’s retail supply chain systems. Walmart’s Chief Information Officer Clay Johnson will report to Kumar, as will the technology chiefs at Walmart’s main operating units—U.S., international and Sam’s Club. Walmart’s U.S. online sales grew 40 percent last year and now total more than $16 billion, fueled by an improved product assortment and also increased adoption of its web grocery service, which has provided a bulwark against Amazon’s encroachment.