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Report: Walmart CTO to Depart, Threatening Progress on Tech Transformation

Hot on the heels of impressive quarterly e-commerce growth, Walmart chief technology officer Jeremy King is said to be parting ways with the world’s largest retailer, calling into question whether Amazon’s biggest rival can continue closing the digital gap in what’s become an arms race between the retail behemoths.

Reuters first reported King’s forthcoming departure based on an internal memo from Marc Lore, who runs Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce, and CEO Greg Foran, to the company’s staff. Under King’s 8-year tenure, Walmart unified the siloed store and e-commerce systems and improved store technology across the chain’s 4,700 stores, doubling down on brick-and-mortar as Amazon flexed its considerable muscle online. In the memo, Foran and Lore reportedly credit King’s “operational decisions” as driving the technology team’s success.

King led a rebuild of the eBay app during his seven years with the digital marketplace prior to starting with the Bentontonville, Ark.-based retailer as CTO and SVP of innovation-minded Walmart Labs, which oversees customer, merchant and supply chain technology for all stores and digital commerce. Walmart’s website describes King as being “on the forefront of cloud computing.” Last summer Walmart announced a deal to leverage Microsoft Azure cloud services to power its global digital transformation and earlier in the year reports surfaced of its work building massive server farms to better execute on customer data.

Walmart has emerged as a leader in hiring tech talent. Last year the company was on track to onboard 2,000 technology workers, with only Amazon planning to hire more employees on the tech front.

There’s no word yet on where King is heading next or who will replace him, although customer technology executive Fiona Tan is said to be shouldering some of his duties in the interim.

Whoever assumes the CTO role next has plenty to tackle at Walmart, which was dinged in ASCI’s latest customer satisfaction for slow in-store checkout and a lousy website experience.