With rumors swirling that CEO and President of Walmart eCommerce U.S. Marc Lore may be departing, the executive announced on Wednesday (Feb. 21) he is “absolutely not” leaving the firm, CNBC reported.
“I feel like we are just getting started,” Lore told CNBC. “I think we are having a ton of fun … We are making great progress on the value proposition.”
Following the story, Walmart spokesman Dan Toporek said the rumor that Lore was departing the company is “completely untrue,” The New York Post reported. If he were to leave the company, Lore could lose shares he would have earned through his incentive package. But the CEO has earned more than 16 percent of the 3.5 million shares he could own if he stayed for five years.
News of Lore’s possible departure comes as Walmart reported fourth-quarter earnings that disappointed investors. Growth of the retailer’s eCommerce sales on Walmart.com has slowed from previous strong growth.
The news also comes a month after Jet.com President Liza Landsman left the company to join a venture capital firm. The executive who replaces her “should be groomed to replace Marc Lore, who I anticipate will depart Walmart in 2018 to 2020 at the latest,” Brittain Ladd, a former Amazon executive, told the Post.
Walmart bought Jet.com for $3 billion in cash and an additional $300 million in Walmart shares in 2016. The deal brought Walmart a new, more digitally savvy customer base and expanded the U.S.’ largest retailer’s already formidable eCommerce presence.
“Jet brings a unique approach and technology that puts customers in control of their experience, helping them find additional ways to save,” Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement at the time. “Jet will help Walmart expand the ways we serve our current customers and reach new customers online.”
The Jet.com acquisition was seen as a talent grab as well as a real estate expansion on Walmart’s part, as various Jet employees have gone on to take leadership positions at Walmart’s emerging fleet of digital brands, including shoes.com, Moosejaw, ModCloth and Bonobos.