- Andy Dunn, the founder of Bonobos who currently oversees Walmart's digital consumer brands, is leaving the company early next year, he said in a LinkedIn post.
- A Walmart spokesperson said in a statement that Dunn would remain onboard through January and will work closely with the retailer's merchandising and brand leadership teams to "ensure a smooth and successful transition." Dunn didn't specify why he was leaving or where he was headed next. The Walmart spokesperson said only that he has "decided now is the right time to take the next steps in his career."
- Dunn turned over the CEO role at Bonobos last fall to then-Chief Marketing Officer Micky Onvural as he took on a broader role within Walmart.
Dunn, in his LinkedIn post, praised Walmart's low-price and consumer-oriented culture, and offered some perspective on his time helping to lead the company's deepening foray into digital commerce.
"I learned a lot more about retail transformation in the digital age at the world's biggest company," he said. "I watched our strategy evolve as we uncorked our unique advantages on a new omni playing field — and began to identify where we aren't just catching up, but where we are winning." He highlighted specifically Walmart’s efforts around grocery pickup, writing that "our thousands of supercenters are an asset nobody else has, so let’s use them."
Dunn said that while at Walmart his digital brands team worked with a strategy based on omnichannel, writing that "we married our talent with the power of Walmart distribution to build brands like Allswell."
"With my departure, that incubator will now be plugged directly into the Walmart mothership," he added. Dunn also praised Walmart’s mission of "delivering a better life for its core customers." In his post, he tied that idea to the 2018 acquisition of Eloquii, which he described as "a leading plus-size fashion company committed to serving a customer who deserves better."
Since Walmart acquired Bonobos, it has shifted much of its digital strategy. Bonobos and some of its peer group of digitally native brands were originally meant to complement Jet after Walmart's blockbuster acquisition of the e-commerce site. But Walmart has since pulled back resources from Jet, nixing its dedicated executive and winding down marketing spend, to focus on its flagship website.
According to Recode reporting, the retailer’s e-commerce stands to lose up to $1 billion this year, with many individual units loss-makers. (Bonobos is among the unprofitable digital enterprises, the publication noted.) More, Bloomberg reported this fall that there was tension within the historically frugal Walmart around lavish spending on the e-commerce unit and some of its more impractical projects, like the tech incubator Store No. 8.
As for the brand Dunn founded and which Walmart acquired in 2017, Bonobos announced layoffs this fall — amounting to a few dozen of the menswear brand’s 600 employees, according to Wall Street Journal reporting. "These decisions are not taken lightly, but we believe they are necessary to set the brand and business up for long term success," a spokesperson for the brand said earlier this year.