W.W. Grainger Inc., facing competitive pressure that forced it to lower its prices last year, has turned to a digital commerce veteran of one of its biggest competitors for its next top financial executive.
Grainger on Monday named as its next chief financial officer Thomas Okray, a former senior executive for finance and fulfillment operations at Amazon.com Inc., which in recent years has been increasing competition for Grainger and other distributors based on price and customer service.
Okray will take over as Grainger’s top financial executive on May 2, when he will succeed the retiring Ron Jadin.
Okray’s experience also runs across management of supply chains as well as financial operations at wholesaler and retailer Advance Auto Parts and General Motors Corp. He joins Grainger from Advance Auto, where he most recently was executive vice president and CFO. Prior to Advance Auto, Okray was vice president of finance and global customer fulfillment at Amazon.
But he has spent most of his career at GM, where as a financial and supply chain executive he oversaw more than $120 billion in annual operating expenses and $8 billion in capital expenditures as CFO for global product development, purchasing and supply chain.
Grainger is No. 32 in the B2B E-Commerce 300; GM is No. 3, Advance Auto, No. 109; and Amazon’s B2B unit Amazon Business is No. 91.
D.G. Macpherson, Grainger’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement this week that, in addition to extensive financial and overall business experience, Okray “has a great appreciation for our industry and customer base, and understands the importance of a sound digital strategy.”
Grainger also announced this week the retirement of senior vice president and chief people officer Joseph High, who will “transition over the next few months and assist in the process of identifying his successor.”
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