The executive will be responsible for “building a business from scratch."
Walmart is searching for its next big technology star.
The world’s largest retailer has posted an opening for a “CEO, Stealth Company” who would lead the latest startup housed inside its technology incubator, Store No. 8. The executive will be responsible for “building a business from scratch,” the job listing says, working closely with senior Walmart leaders and serving as the “public champion” for the as-yet-undefined business.
One key skill is the ability to handle competitive threats and possibly “pivot strategy” just in case, say, Amazon.com decides to try and crush the fledgling unit.
Walmart created its incubator Store No. 8 two years ago to identify and capitalize on changes in the way people shop, by using tools such as virtual reality and self-checkout. The unit already includes several endeavors, such as Jetblack, a concierge shopping service for upscale city dwellers; Spatialand, a virtual-reality software maker acquired in 2018; Project Kepler, a push to compete with Amazon’s cashierless Go stores; and Project Franklin, which is still in stealth mode after hiring a Google veteran as its CEO year ago.
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Walmart representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Store No. 8 is a reference to a Walmart location where co-founder Sam Walton tried out new concepts. It’s the brainchild of Marc Lore, who joined Walmart in 2016 when he sold his own startup, Jet.com, to the Arkansas retailer for $3.3 billion. The goal is to have a fast-moving, separate entity based in the heart of Silicon Valley that pinpoints emerging technologies that can potentially be used across Walmart.
Many of those technologies were on display at the National Retail Federation’s annual confab in New York this week. There, executives spoke about the industry’s promising digital future, but the optimism has been shaken by the recent downbeat holiday sales results from big retailers like Macy’s, Kohl’s and Nordstrom.
“There’s a lot of great new cool technology,” Walmart’s Chief Technology Officer Jeremy King said in an interview last week. “The challenge at Walmart is how do I scale those things?”