Walmart goes hipster as it appoints Instagram founder Kevin Systrom to its board

 
Emma Haslett
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Kevin Systrom will bring much-needed digital know-how to Walmart (Source: Getty)

The world's largest retailer has come over more Walden than Walmart, after it appointed Instagram founder and chief executive Kevin Systrom to its board.

The US-based supermarket, which owns Asda, said Systrom's "digital expertise will be invaluable" - so we can only presume Walmart is after his technical know-how, rather than is ability to attract beard-sporting, skinny jeans-wearing hipster types.

Systrom, who has been recruited alongside Yahoo chief executive Marissa Meyer, will provide some much-needed experience of technology. Walmart may have set up a series of "Tech Labs" in Silicon Vally and fintech firm Adchemy, but one look at its revenue figures suggests it could do with all the help it can get from a tech perspective. Although second-quarter figures posted in August showed revenues of $120.1bn, up 2.8 per cent from the same period a year ago, online accounted for about 0.3 per cent of same-store sales. Last year total e-commerce sales were $7.7bn; this year it is targeting $13bn, almost double that.

Walmart chairman Rob Walton paid tribute to Systrom:

Kevin's entrepreneurial background and his technical and digital expertise will be invaluable as we further connect with customers and deploy new capabilities through e-commerce and mobile channels... Kevin's passion and deep knowledge of social media align with our focus to engage customers through our digital and physical channels.

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