Pinterest poaches Walmart's chief technology officer
Pinterest, which filed to go public in February, is looking to scale its ad business by connecting consumers with products sold at Target, or vacations in Italy, for example, through visual search discovery. Given how Pinterest executes these sales, King's background in both engineering and products likely encouraged his hiring.
Pinterest is trying to monetize its 250 million-plus users ahead of its initial public offering. Some 97 percent of the top 1,000 most popular searches on Pinterest are unbranded, meaning someone who searches for "brown leather jacket" will see styles, but they won't carry a name like Marc New York, for example. A tool called "Shop the Look" applies computer vision to find similar, branded items for sale, and it's an area King will likely tinker with upon his arrival at Pinterest.
King was also previously chief technology officer and senior VP of Walmart Labs, which the retailer used to test out new ideas that leveraged tech, some of which went on to power both Walmart's consumer facing website as well as its Jet.com shopping site. Prior to that, he was VP of engineering at eBay.
In its most recent quarter, Walmart e-commerce sales rose 43 percent year-over-year. King leaves Walmart on March 29 and will report to Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann starting April 1.