Prentis Wilson, who led Amazon Business to more than $10 billion in annual sales in its first four years, has been named the first president of Boxed, an online wholesale-retailer of consumer products and groceries sold in bulk quantities and used in households and corporate breakrooms.
Alexandre Gagnon, a 15-year veteran of Amazon who for the past three years has been vice president of Amazon Canada and Amazon Mexico, will succeed Wilson as vice president of Amazon Business, Amazon said. Gagnon was not immediately available for comment.
Gagnon filled several roles over the years at Amazon, including as a program manager working on market expansion in Europe, where he was involved in the launch of Amazon’s operations in Italy and Spain in 2010 and 2011. Gagnon also was a director and technical advisor of international customer operations. He started at Amazon in August 2004 as a manager of music purchasing, before moving on to manage book and DVD sales in Europe.
Joining fast-growing Boxed
Wilson joins Boxed at time when the company, founded in 2013, is “coming off a year of incredible growth” and is primed for more, Boxed said in announcing Wilson’s appointment as president.
“In a rapidly evolving industry, we’ve been able to grow from a technology startup selling online bulk groceries to a full-service retail partner also offering software and actionable data insights” on consumer demand, Chieh Huang, co-founder and CEO, said in announcing Wilson’s appointment yesterday. “Prentis will help us in scaling this operation, bringing years of insight from a strong player in the ecommerce landscape.”
In an interview with B2BecNews last year, Boxed said that half of all new sales were coming from B2B customers. The company, whose legal corporate name is Giddy Inc., operates the Boxed Wholesale division, at Boxed.com/business, for sales to businesses as well as Boxed.com for sales to households and individual consumers.
Huang launched the company as an alternative to wholesale clubs by not requiring customers to pay membership fees. To support growing demand from business customers, Boxed Wholesale has been introducing such breakroom products as organic, non-GMO and gluten-free foods.
Boxed reported 2018 sales of $141.12 million, up 26% from $112.0 million in 2017, according to the Internet Retailer 2019 Top 1000 ranking of U.S. online merchants. The ranking also notes that Boxed posted a compound annual growth rate of 69.8% from 2014 to 2018.
Wilson, who joined Amazon in 2011, was vice president of Amazon Supply when it launched in 2012 as Amazon’s first online marketplace portal dedicated to B2B transactions. He continued as Amazon’s head of B2B ecommerce as Amazon Supply transitioned in April 2015 into Amazon Business. Amazon Supply had only featured products from third-party sellers, but at Amazon Business, Amazon itself became a seller of record competing with third-party sellers. Amazon Business also expanded on account services and selling features available to sellers.
Wilson’s growth formula worked for Amazon Business, as it quickly hit $1 billion in gross merchandise sales and, by 2018, had hit an annualized rate of $10 billion. Earlier this year, industry analysts projected that Amazon Business would exceed $20 billion in total gross merchandise sales within two years.
Now, Wilson and Huang are looking for the same kind of growth at Boxed. “Boxed is an innovative company that identified and capitalized on a real opportunity in the grocery space,” Wilson said yesterday. “I’m super excited to join Boxed, where I see massive potential for its end-to-end platform to deliver an industry-best shopping experience for customers, as well as unrivaled value for vendors.”
Before joining Amazon, Wilson was a vice president of global sourcing and supplier management at internet technology manufacturer Cisco Systems Inc. and a vice president a director of global sourcing and procurement at diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc.
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