Walmart and Hayneedle, the online home décor retailer acquired by Jet.com and now owned by Walmart, have announced two major executive appointments: Anthony Soohoo has been named the senior vice president and general manager of the Home group across all U.S. e-commerce retail within Walmart.com, Hayneedle and Jet; and Scott Doughman has been hired as the new president and top executive within Hayneedle, according to a Hayneedle press release.
Soohoo previously was founder and CEO of Dot & Bo, a home furnishing brand focused on millennials that shut down in late 2016. He also served as the senior vice president and general manager of the entertainment division at CBS Interactive, having joined CBS with its acquisition of Dotspotter, where he served as co-founder and CEO. Soohoo has also worked in product and leadership positions at Yahoo!, Inktomi and Apple.
Doughman previously was vice president of global partnerships at Yahoo!, and worked with several of the world’s largest marketers to drive customer experience and brand awareness focused on the use of content and digital advertising. Prior to Yahoo, Doughman worked in strategic planning, corporate development and product management roles at Sungard, Booz Allen & Hamilton, FedEx and Price Waterhouse.
These changes come a few weeks after Walmart declared a renewed focus on digital efforts, aiming to boost e-commerce sales by 40%. Earlier this week, Jet separately announced a private label consumer goods strategy designed to compete more directly with Amazon and Target, among others, on that front.
Soohoo’s position is a new one and he will report directly to Scott Hilton, senior vice president and chief revenue officer, U.S. e-commerce for Walmart, according to a Hayneedle spokeswoman, who told Retail Dive, "There has been a Home team within Walmart.com for years, but we are grouping the entire Home vertical together for the first time, meaning the Home category across Hayneedle.com, Walmart.com and Jet.com, and putting it all under one leader."
Soohoo’s Dot & Bo was a competitor of Hayneedle’s well before Walmart acquired Jet, and with it Hayneedle in 2016. In an interview with recode after Dot & Bo folded, Soohoo said that his company also had, at one point, been a potential acquisition target of a "big box retailer." Things might have been different for Dot & Bo had it been acquired by a company like Target or even Walmart before or after the Jet deal. As it is, Soohoo ends up getting a big job with a big box retailer anyway, and his mission will be to manage a group that still could grow through acquisition while trying to also draw out strengths in each unit that can be leveraged vertically.
Doughman takes over leadership of Hayneedle from vice president of technology Ryan Paulson, who served as interim CEO in recent months. Doughman effectively replaces Jon Barker, the former CEO of Hayneedle who led the e-commerce start-up to be acquired by Jet and left the company in the spring of 2017 to become an executive with Sportsman’s Warehouse, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Doughman told the World-Herald that he plans to make some changes to how Hayneedle communicates with its customers.
Walmart, Jet and Hayneedle already share some SKUs across all three of its home furnishings banners, and having more vertical integration is expected to have other benefits across sites, giving each organization more opportunity to share information and market experience to improve the Home group as a whole, the spokeswoman said.