Retail

Walmart eliminates Jet president role as it further integrates e-commerce business

Key Points
  • Walmart will eliminate the Jet.com president role currently held by Simon Belsham.
  • Belsham will remain with the company until August.
  • Walmart is meanwhile merging the rest of Jet's teams — including retail, marketing and technology — with its own.
  • Jet leaders will now report to Kieran Shanahan, who's been overseeing Walmart's food, consumables and health-and-wellness divisions online.
Simon Belsham, president of Jet.com
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

More than two years after Walmart bought Jet.com, the big-box retailer is taking steps to more fully integrate and fold the e-commerce platform into its own business.

As part of the changes it has planned, Simon Belsham's role as Jet president will be eliminated, and Jet team leaders will now report to Kieran Shanahan, who's been overseeing Walmart's food, consumables and health-and-wellness divisions online.

Walmart, which announced the changes in a blog post Wednesday evening, said it will merge the rest of Jet's teams — including retail, marketing, technology, analytics, product and several others — within Walmart.

"We don't have the same need for a dedicated leader," at Jet anymore, said Marc Lore, the co-founder of Jet.com who now serves as the head of Walmart's e-commerce business in the U.S.

Belsham will remain with the company until early August to help with the transition, Lore said.

A Walmart spokesman told CNBC there are no layoffs planned because of these steps, and Jet will keep its headquarters in Hoboken, New Jersey.

"This natural progression of integrating an acquisition, allows us to fully leverage Walmart's assets for Jet and leverage Jet's talent for Walmart," Lore said.

Since Walmart acquired Jet for roughly $3 billion in late 2016, it began integrating the companies, including combining its supply chain teams to fall under Jet.com co-founder Nathan Faust. Faust and Lore both came from Quidsi, another start-up Lore co-founded that was sold to Amazon in 2011 for $550 million. (Amazon later shut down Quidsi.)

Lore said the supply chain changes have helped Walmart grow overall e-commerce sales at a rapid clip and ultimately move toward offering free, next-day delivery.

Jet has also gone through some management shake-up before. It lost its former president, Liza Landsman, last year. She had been named into that position after Lore became the head of e-commerce for Walmart, but later left to work as a venture capitalist. That's when Belsham stepped in.

Meanwhile, Walmart has admittedly dialed back its marketing efforts for Jet, which have focused on targeting millennial customers, in order to focus more on growing Walmart.com. The company has been criticized in the past by analysts for not growing Jet sales as quickly some had hoped, and for focusing all of its investments on New York.

"We saw we could get a much higher return on our marketing investments with Walmart.com," Lore said in Wednesday's blog post. "However, in specific large cities where Walmart has few or no stores, Jet has become hyper focused on those urban customers. ... 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."

Last year, Walmart redesigned Jet.com by adding more merchandise from brands like Nike, faster delivery and a slew of other upgrades in a bid to compete more effectively against Amazon.

Jet could be looking to grow again soon, according to Lore. "The focus has largely been on New York so far, and we're looking at other cities where we might bring together Jet's expertise and the scale and operating model of Walmart," he said. "More to come on that."

Walmart also announced that David Echegoyen, current vice president and chief customer officer at Jet, will be moving over to Walmart's marketing division as vice president of grocery, pickup, and delivery and services marketing in the U.S. and online. He will report to Barbara Messing, senior vice president and chief marketing officer. 

Walmart shares are up about 16.8% so far this year.

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