- Jet president Simon Belsham is stepping down as parent company Walmart eliminates the role as part of its repositioning of the Jet brand and integration of the team. Belsham stepped into the role in early 2018.
- Marc Lore — CEO of Walmart's e-commerce unit and founder of Jet — said in a corporate post that going forward the company would add management of Jet to the role of Kieran Shanahan, who oversees the food, consumables, and health and wellness categories for Walmart eCommerce.
- In the post, Lore emphasized Jet's evolving role at Walmart, where it has mainly served urban areas such as New York where the mass merchant has scant presence.
As Walmart applies ever more focus on technology and e-commerce, it continues to retool its team and executive mix.
In May, the retailer hired Suresh Kumar, a veteran of Amazon, Microsoft and other tech titans, as its new chief technology officer. Days later the company announced Scott Eckert as the new leader for its Store No. 8 tech incubator, who came from the venture capital and tech world.
Along with the personnel changes, Walmart has also expanded its tech labs in Northern Virginia, which is trying to form itself into a hub of tech talent (and is soon to be home to half of Amazon's second headquarters). And the company's plans for a new headquarters in its home base of Bentonville, Arkansas, is, as some have observed, a tribute to the modern tech company campus.
The pivot toward tech and e-commerce has benefited Walmart's top-line, where online sales have continually grown at around 40% since Lore joined from Jet. It's somewhat ironic that Walmart's aggressive expansion into the online world largely followed its acquisition of Jet, which, with the loss of its own executive leadership role, appears to be taking on a diminished — but not irrelevant — role for the retailer.
Walmart expected Jet to boost online grocery sales and to serve as a gateway into New York City, where regulations keep the retailer from operating. Lately, Walmart has shifted more of its capital and efforts to Walmart.com, where it saw a higher return, Lore noted last year. According to Reuters sources that do business with Walmart and Jet, Walmart has reduced inventory purchases for Jet. The retailer has also seen a drop in Jet's sales this year and fewer users than previously reported, sources said.
Lore reiterated in his blog post that Walmart is repositioning Jet's role in the company.
" ... In specific large cities where Walmart has few or no stores, Jet has become hyper-focused on those urban customers,” he said. "While this has made Jet smaller from a sales perspective, it has helped us create a smart portfolio approach where our businesses complement each other."