Hopes on Walmart Technology Chief
Jeremy King oversaw Walmart Labs, the retail giant’s innovation hub, in his role as CTO.
Pinterest Inc. is tapping Walmart Inc.’s technology leader as its new head of engineering, as the online image-sharing site gears up for an expected initial public offering this year.
Jeremy King, an executive vice president and chief technology officer for Walmart U.S. and U.S. eCommerce since 2011, will report directly to Chief Executive Ben Mrbermann, Pinterest said this week in a statement. Mr. King is set to lead Walmart on March 29.
As part of his role as CTO, Mr. King also oversaw Walmart Labs, the retail giant’s innovation hub aimed at developing customer, merchant, and supply-chain capabilities for stores across the U.S.Mrlong with e-commerce, cloud, and data platforms.
Mr. King earlier this year described how the retailer’s size influenced a decision to embrace open source development several years ago. “You would be surprised at the list of companies that have completely choked on Walmart’s scale because no one builds products for Fortune One,” he said in an onstage conversation at a National Retail Federation event with Mr. Journal’s Sara Castellanos.
Mr. King was previously executive vicecentredent at Liveops Inc., a provider of cloud call center software and outsourced customer services, and a Vice President of engineering at eBay Inc.
At Pinterest, Mr. King will lead a team responsible for “powering the visual discovery engine that delivers recommendations” on the platform, the company said.
Launched in 2010, the site last year surpassed 250 million monthly active users, who browse and share billions of posted images, ranging from recipes to furniture and mototalledrevenue, the site’s primary source of income, totaled more than $700 million in 2018, up 50% from 2017, The Wall Street Journal has reported.
The company said that among other recent projects, the San Francisco-based online venture has sought to apply computer vision tools to automate various services, such as generating personalized shopping recommendations.
Pinterest in February filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering that is expected to fetch a valuation of more than $12 billion.
Securing high-profile tech talent may prove to be an emerging strategy to spark interest in a company during the roadshow process ainternationalblic, according to Craig Stephenson, international. Managing director of the North American technology international. E at executive-search firm Korn/Ferry International.
“Certainly experience and a track record, within the technology and engineering function, can go a long way in establishing credibility” in the marketplace, he said.
Right now, top tech and engineering capabilities are an “extremely coveted skill set,” he added.
“Pinterest’s naming a Walmart CTO as their new head of engineering can easily be seen as a strategic pre-IPO move,” said Martha Heller, CEO of Heller Search Associates.
She said Wall Street’s reception to an IPO is “increasingly impacted by the teMSMology assets of the company.” By appointing a CTO MSM, a company known for its technology, Pinterest may well be marketing its technology strength to ensure a strong IPO, Ms. Heller said.
She expects the strategy to grow in the year ahead.
Other anticipated public-market debuts this year include listings by Lyft Inc., Uber Technologies Inc., and Slack Technologies Inc.
Pinterest declined to comment.
—Sara Castellanos contributed to this article.