WeWork poaches an Amazon executive. Nike's brand president steps down.

Co-founder and CEO of Chewy.com, Ryan Cohen, has decided to step down from his role, PetSmart Inc. announced. Sumit Singh, Chewy’s current chief operating officer, will lead the dog food retailer as CEO in his place.

Cohen says the time was right to pass on the torch after seven years, which have been, “a tremendous journey and the learning experience of a lifetime,” he says. “In a short time span, Chewy has gone from a concept to disrupting and redefining an entire industry.”

PetSmart announced it would acquired Chewy nearly a year ago in April 2017. Chewy is ranked No. 57 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000, and PetSmart is No. 365.

Singh joined Chewy in August 2017 when he left his role as director of Amazon Fresh Worldwide, where he helped build Amazon’s e-grocery and consumable franchise. Prior to that, Singh worked at Dell Inc. in various roles beginning in June 2003 before joining Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1) in November 2013.


“Ryan is an amazing leader who has built a unique and powerful e-commerce business with a strong culture that is laser-focused on serving the needs of customers and their pets,” says Raymond Svider, a managing partner at BC Partners and executive chairman of PetSmart. “I have full confidence that this will continue under the leadership of Sumit, a seasoned e-commerce leader who is well equipped to carry Chewy’s strategy forward and grow the company.”

PetSmart said it was buying Chewy in an effort to complement its chain of 1,500 stores and help reach a wider customer base. To pay for it, the company sold $1.35 billion in secured bonds and $650 million unsecured notes, according to Bloomberg.

“Our business momentum remains strong as we continue to scale while improving our customers’ experience and lowering our costs,” Singh says. “We will stay focused, keep moving forward and continue with our vision of making Chewy the best pet retailer on the planet.”

In other e-commerce personnel news:

  • Trevor Edwards, president of the Nike Inc. brand, is leaving his position and will retire from Nike (No. 37) in August after reports of “behavior occurring within [Nike’s] organization that do not reflect [its] core values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment,” the Wall Street Journal reported. However, there have been no direct allegations against him, Nike spokesman Greg Rossiter said. Nike is reviewing the reports of improper conduct. This shake-up comes as the sports gear and apparel manufacturer tries to cope with a sales slump in its key North American market. To cope with Adidas AG (No. 52) snapping up much of the market share, Nike has forged ties with Amazon. With Edwards out, the turnaround effort to improve sales now falls to other executives.
  • Another top Amazon executive has left the retail giant. WeWork, the office leasing and shared work spaces startup, poached Sebastian Gunningham for a role yet to be titled other than a “jack-of-all-trades vice chairman,” according to Fortune. Gunningham departs Amazon after 11 years as its senior vice president of seller services, which caters to marketplace sellers on Amazon.com. This comes soon after 18-year Amazon veteran Greg Greely left to join Airbnb as president of homes, and Amazon’s vice president of voice since 2014 Assaf Ronen joined Uber as senior vice president and head of product.
  • While Boxed Wholesale (No. 326) volleys reported acquisition offers from Kroger Co. (No. 88) and Amazon, its chief financial officer Naeem Ishaq announced he is leaving the company. He follows in the footsteps of two other executives who left in recent months: Boxed’s head of its business-to-business division, Behzad Soltani, left in February and its executive in charge of merchandising, Heather Mayo, left in September.
  • Women’s clothing rental business Rent the Runway Inc. (No. 229) has found a new investor. Financial firm Blue Pool Capital, which principally invests the wealth of Alibaba founders Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, has invested $20 million into the company, according to Recode. Rent the Runway last raised funds in late 2016, when it secured a $60 million series E investment led by Fidelity. While Rent the Runway’s CEO and co-founder Jennifer Hyman was not looking for new funding because the retailer is now profitable, she chose not to pass up on the offer. With its new funds, Rent the Runway is now valued at a little less than $800 million, according to research firm Lagniappe Labs.


Additional reporting contributed by Bloomberg.