Walmart hires Google exec for chief technology officer role

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 1,367 views 

Walmart has tapped Google executive Suresh Kumar as its new elevated chief technology officer and chief development officer. Kumar brings 25 years of technology leadership and insights from his work that also includes leadership roles at Microsoft, Amazon and IBM.

He will join Walmart on July 8 and report directly to CEO Doug McMillon. Kumar will be primarily based in Sunnyvale, Calif., according to corporate spokesman Ravi Jariwala.

The retail giant said Kumar is not a replacement for Jeremy King, former chief technology officer for Walmart U.S. who recently left the company for a similar role at Pinterest. Walmart said King’s replacement has not yet been named and whomever it is will report to Kumar as well as Greg Foran, CEO for Walmart U.S. The chief technology officers for Sam’s Club and Walmart International, who each report to their respective business leaders, will each dually report to Kumar. Clay Johnson and the Global Business Services teams also will report to Kumar.

“The technology of today and tomorrow enables us to serve our customers and associates in ways that weren’t previously possible. We want to take full advantage of those opportunities,” McMillon said in a statement. “Suresh has a unique understanding of the intersection of technology and retail, including supply chain, and has deep experience in advertising, cloud and machine learning. And, he has a track record of working in partnership with business teams to drive results.”

At Google, Kumar served as vice president and general manager of display, video, app ads and analytics. Prior to Google, he was the corporate vice president of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and operations. He spent 15 years at Amazon in various leadership roles, including vice president of technology for retail systems and operations, and he led Amazon’s retail supply chain and inventory management systems.

Prior to that, he was a research staff member at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Kumar holds a Ph.D. in engineering from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree in technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

“Walmart is one of the great success stories in how a company evolves over time to serve the changing needs of its customers, and today, it is in the midst of a very exciting digital transformation,” Kumar said in a statement. “With more than 11,000 stores, a high-growth eCommerce business and more than two million associates worldwide, the potential for technology to help people at scale is unparalleled, and I am excited to be part of this.”