Nordstrom CTO bows out after less than a year

Dive Brief:

  • Nordstrom chief technology officer Kumar Srinivasan is leaving the department store retailer after less than a year. News of his departure surfaced in an internal memo obtained by Geekwire.

  • Srinivasan was hired last March to "reduce complexity while optimizing engineering and software productivity and effectiveness across four Nordstrom Technology teams." He was previously co-founder and CEO of Evocalize, chief product & technology officer at Bazaarvoice, and vice president, general manager at Amazon, where he led Amazon Payments Merchant Solutions.

  • Nordstrom will now take time to determine the structure of its technology team and continue to fill various executive positions in that space, Geekwire reports. 

Dive Insight:

Nordstrom, although known for being digital savvy, has been on a cost-cutting mission to reevaluate its e-commerce operations and tech teams in an effort to move out of the doldrums. 

In September the retailer promoted Ken Worzel, its executive vice president of strategy and development since 2010, to president of its unit, part of an executive shuffle to jumpstart the department store chain's e-commerce efforts.

Brothers Erik, Blake and Pete Nordstrom, who serve as co-presidents of the company, also changed up their duties. Erik Nordstrom is now responsible for the Nordstrom brand (including Nordstrom stores, and Trunk Club) as well as customer care, marketing and supply chain duties. Blake Nordstrom is responsible for the Nordstrom Rack brand, including Rack stores and, alongside other corporate functions including finance, technology, legal and human resources. Pete Nordstrom continues to support all of Nordstrom's merchandising functions and store planning initiatives. He also remains closely involved in all areas impacting the Nordstrom brand, including marketing.

Nordstrom earlier this year said it’s maintaining its $300 million spending level on e-commerce, but acknowledged that may be the outer limit of what it’s willing to do, considering its brick-and-mortar stores are integral to its omnichannel success. Despite its tech cuts, Nordstrom is likely keeping a close eye on what it needs to survive, according to retail futurist Doug Stephens, who remains confident in what he calls Nordstrom’s fundamentals. Stephens told Retail Dive earlier this year that it would be a mistake for the retailer to achieve cost cutting by cutting store associates because it must protect its reputation for excellent customer service.

“I think that Nordstrom has a very good sense of self,” Stephens said. “They understand who they are and what makes them strong, but at the same time they don’t rest on those laurels. And they are a company that is in touch with technology. They aren’t afraid to try new things and experiment.”

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