Marc Lore Leaving Walmart
Walmart U.S. e-commerce business leader Marc Lore is leaving retailer, nearly five years after it looked to the serial entrepreneur to help accelerate its online business, according to a filing today (01/15/2021).
Lore joined the company in 2016 when Walmart acquired Jet.com, the start-up that he co-founded, for $3.3 billion. The delivery service shipped groceries and other household items to largely younger, city-dwelling customers.
With the pricey acquisition, the legacy brick-and-mortar retailer and its CEO Doug McMillon made a big bet to jumpstart its digital business and play catch-up to Amazon.
The deal was seen by investors and analysts, in part, as a way for Walmart to gain the digital savvy of Lore and his team. He had deep experience in e-commerce. He also had insights into its fast-growing rival after selling his former company, Quidsi, the parent of Diapers.com, to Amazon for about $550 million. He worked for Amazon for several years before starting Jet.com
In a post on LinkedIn, the 49-year-old executive said he will take time off, but plans to continue working with start-ups;
“Today we announced to the Walmart team that I’ll be transitioning from associate to strategic advisor…
Reflecting on the past few years with so much pride - Walmart changed my life and the work we did together will keep changing the lives of customers for years to come. It has been an honor to be a part of the Walmart family and I look forward to providing advice and ideas in the future.
Looking forward, I’ll be taking some time off and plan to continue working with several startups. Excited to keep you all up to date on what’s next.”
Lore's Team to Report to Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner
As reported by CNBC, Lore’s team will report to Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner going forward, according to a company-wide email. Walmart had previously combined its store and e-commerce teams.
In the email, McMillon credited Lore for the pace of the retailer’s e-commerce growth and its ability to keep up with online demand during the pandemic. He said Lore spearheaded the redesign of the company’s website and app, transformed its supply chain to allow for two-day and same-day delivery, and expanded the assortment of goods it sells online.
“Marc’s leadership helped ensure we were positioned to respond to the demand driven by the pandemic this year,” McMillon said in the email. “All of this progress is the result of good work from a lot of people, of course, but Marc’s expertise and aggressiveness have been game-changing. We have learned a lot from him. I have personally learned a lot from him.”
Since the acquisition of Jet.com, Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce business has grown dramatically - even prior to the pandemic. The company reported online sales growth of 37% in the U.S. in 2019, topping its own internal growth target of 35%. That’s jumped even more as customers limit trips to the store and use curbside pickup during the global health crisis.
It has also acquired other digitally native brands, including menswear company Bonobos and plus-sized women’s brand Eloquii, and launched others like mattress brand, Allswell.
And it’s added more online options for customers, from curbside pickup to Walmart Express Delivery, which can drop off purchases to customers’ doors in two hours or less. It also partnered with Shopify to expand its online marketplace and struck a deal with secondhand seller ThredUp to sell more brands of apparel, shoes, and accessories.
Yet some of the initiatives led by Lore faded or failed. Jet.com - the start-up that originally caught Walmart’s attention - was officially wound down in the spring. Jetblack, a membership-based service that allowed customers to order items on demand by sending a text message, became a money-loser that was discontinued before it was scaled.
A City of the Future
Lore informed Recode that his next big entrepreneurial swing will be something far afield from his current expertise: a multi-decade project to build “a city of the future” supported by “a reformed version of capitalism.”
“It’s a new model for society we’ll be testing,” he teased.
Lore declined to offer more details but said he would be prepared to reveal additional information in the coming months. Some who have heard of the project say one focus will be on giving everyday citizens direct economic upside in the city’s growth.
“Imagine a city with the vibrancy, diversity, and culture of New York City combined with the efficiency, safety, and innovation of Tokyo and the sustainability, governance, and social services of Sweden,” reads the vision statement for the project.
“This will be our New City.”
“This is going to be a lifelong project,” he added. “It’s the thing I’m most passionate about.”
The entrepreneur and executive said he also plans to spend more time on philanthropy, advising startups, and serving on public company boards, while also writing a book and working on developing a TV show. He said he has ideas for new startups he wanted to pursue as well, but made clear he had no intention of running them as CEO.
Related Article: Riding the Pandemic’s Wave of Change through Retail Supply Chain Innovation
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