David Rawlinson, president of Grainger Online Business, which includes Zoro.com and MonotaRO.com, will leave next month to join data firm Nielsen Global Connect.

There’s an ecommerce leadership void to fill at maintenance, repair and operations products distributor W.W. Grainger Inc.


David Rawlinson, president of Grainger Online Business, is leaving to join Nielsen Global Connect.

On Tuesday, Grainger, which does about 60% of all sales through ecommerce, announced that David Rawlinson, corporate senior vice president and president of Grainger Online Business—which includes its Zoro and MonotaRO brands—will leave the company effective Feb. 1 to become the CEO of a newly formed public company.

Rawlinson is leaving Grainger to head up research firm Nielsen Holdings plc’s Global Connect business unit. Nielsen Global Connect provides consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers with “accurate, actionable information and insights and a complete picture of the complex and changing marketplace that companies need to innovate and grow,” Nielsen says. Nielsen Holdings announced in November plans to spin off Global Connect as a separate company.

Rawlinson has served as Grainger’s president of its Global Online Business unit since November 2015. He joined Grainger in July of 2012 and previously served as the vice president of operations for the Global Online Business, and prior to that as Grainger’s vice president, deputy general counsel and corporate secretary.


Prior to Grainger, Rawlinson worked for ITT Corp. as vice president, general counsel and director of corporate responsibility of the electronic systems division. In addition, Rawlinson served as a White House Fellow and in appointed positions for the George W. Bush and Barack Obama Administrations.

In the Bush Administration, Rawlinson was a leader of the outgoing transition. In the Obama Administration, he served as Senior Advisor for Economic Policy at the White House National Economic Council.

Grainger’s online business unit includes MonotaRO in Japan and Zoro in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States. In 2018, Grainger’s online business portfolio revenue grew by 24% percent to $1.5 billion.

Grainger has yet to name Rawlinson’s replacement. In the interim, executives managing the Zoro and MonotaRO businesses will operate under CEO D.G. Macpherson, Grainger said.

Grainger Online Business, which the company also refers to as its single-channel, online-only operations, is separate from the company’s flagship Grainger.com ecommerce site, which provides more services to customers and is associated with Grainger’s network of physical branches.


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