Boxed chief financial officer Naeem Ishaq is leaving, accorded to an internal email obtained by Fast Company on Wednesday. Boxed didn't immediately return Retail Dive's request for comment.
Other possible buyers include Amazon, Alibaba, Costco, Target and Aldi. If Boxed isn't acquired, the company plans to raise additional funding and remain independent, sources told Forbes, and Boxed CEO and co-founder Chieh Huang in a panel at the NRF's Big Show in January said the company would inevitably participate in brick-and-mortar retail and hopefully end up a publicly owned company.
American shoppers are increasingly going online to replenish consumer goods, and Boxed's cutting edge tech has made it an appealing takeover target. In December the site introduced new technology features, including an augmented reality capability, a Facebook Messenger chatbot and a group ordering solution, capping off a year in which it built a reputation for embracing technology innovation, especially automation in its warehouse environment. It's not the first company in the sector to embrace AR or chatbots, but it continues to keep pace with what's new in retail technology.
Amazon has driven a lot of innovation in the space, most notably through its Amazon Dash replenishment program. But others are also building on that concept, and Boxed does so with machine learning that helps predict needs and pre-orders items when the time seems right.
Several retailers, including Amazon and Hudson's Bay Co., also employ robots in fulfillment operations, but Boxed has been very deliberate about keeping human employees at fulfillment centers on payroll. Instead of replacing people, Boxed says it retrains them for other jobs. The company has also become known for pro-consumer stances like its criticism a couple of years ago of unfair pricing of women's hygiene products.
Ishaq joined Boxed in 2016 from Square, where he served as head of finance, strategy and risk since 2012, and before that was at Salesforce, according to his LinkedIn page. Boxed has seen a few executives leave in recent months, including B2B chief Behzad Soltani and merchandising chief Heather Mayo.