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Reports: Walmart Contractors Face Scrutiny for Spying on the Retailer, CTO Jeremy King Leaving

Reports: Walmart Contractors Face Scrutiny for Spying on the Retailer, CTO Jeremy King Leaving


BENTONVILLE, AR
Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Walmart has made headlines and headway against rivals like Amazon, over the course of the last few years, by redoubling its e-commerce efforts. But a slew of revelations reported on by Reuters and the New York Times, this week, suggest that the company’s technologic efforts may soon be in an upheaval of sorts.

Reuters first broke the news that Chief Technology Officer Jeremy King is leaving the company. Citing an internal company memo, the news source stated King—who “oversaw the tech transformation of Walmart’s roughly 4,700 U.S. stores” and “led a revamp of Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce technology platform by making it faster, more competitive, and customer-friendly”—will be replaced in an interim capacity by Fiona Tan, SVP of Customer Technology.

Walmart’s online sales grew 43 percent in the last quarter—growth the company credited to a broadening assortment and greater delivery and pick-up prowess.

A slew of revelations reported on by Reuters and the New York Times suggest that Walmart's technologic efforts may soon be in an upheaval of sorts

And later reports confirm that the former CTO has been hired by Pinterest—the social media platform self described as a “visual discovery engine.”

“The operational decisions made during (King’s) time were key to the success of our technology team and led to more agile ways of working,” said the memo sent on Wednesday by Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran and E-Commerce Chief Marc Lore, according to Reuters’ exclusive report.

If that weren’t enough turmoil, a recent New York Times report has revealed that Walmart has filed a formal F.B.I. complaint against technology contractor Compucom. The Bureau is reportedly investigating “whether employees of one of Walmart’s technology contractors obtained sensitive information by monitoring email accounts at the retail giant, including those of several executives.”

“The case exposes a potential vulnerability for companies that rely on contractors for technical work, giving outsiders broad access to sensitive internal documents with little oversight in the process,” the Times editorialized. “It also raises questions about how technicians hired to support the computer system of one of the world’s largest and most insular corporations were able to gather information from employee emails.”

Court filings by the F.B.I. reportedly accuse Compucom employees of spying on Walmart’s internal correspondence and, in at least one instance, using that information to help Compucom submit a winning bid for work with Walmart.

The scheme, which ran from late 2015 into 2016, involved a Compucom employee who worked on Walmart’s technical help desk; that employee reportedly used a personal email account to relay information to his supervisors at Compucom.

Deli Market News will continue to report with breaking retail news.

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