In a move to bolster its omnichannel capabilities, Albertsons Cos. has hired Gautam Kotwal, formerly of Kohl’s and Netflix, as executive vice president and chief data and analytics officer.
Albertsons said that in the newly created role, Kotwal will oversee the food and drug retailer’s efforts to develop seamless, personalized experiences whichever way customers choose to shop, whether in-store or via online and mobile channels.
He will be based at the company’s campus in Pleasanton, Calif., and report to Albertsons Cos. President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Donald.
“Our omnichannel platform is something our organization is deeply committed to, and to best serve our customers who shop each channel, we must begin to look at data across not only our customer base but also within our company to further innovate within our industry,” Donald said in a statement.
“Gautam possesses a unique blend of technical skill, boundless enthusiasm and a commitment to developing people and teams, all of which will serve him well in this new role,” he added. “I’m excited to have Gautam join our company and formalize our data and analytics efforts under his leadership so that we can better engage our customers, no matter where they shop with us.”
Previously, Kotwal was vice president of analytics, data platform and data science engineering at Kohl’s Department Stores. In that role over the last two years, he built Kohl’s BigData team to help create an insights-driven organization by “democratizing data and science,” according to Albertsons. He joined Kohl’s in 2012 as director of innovation before being named director of innovation and data science.
Prior to joining Kohl’s, Kotwal worked at Netflix, most recently as director of engineering, overseeing Netflix Streaming test strategy, vision, test architecture and test automation. He started at the company in 2008 as an engineering manager.
Kotwal’s role is expected to be one key to realizing the benefits of the pending merger of Albertsons Cos. and Rite Aid Corp.
“We’ve hired a data science team with a new leader,” Shane Sampson, executive and chief marketing and merchandising officer for Albertsons Cos., said in an analyst call on the merger last week. A data science platform that enables advanced analytics across the organization will foster personalization, customer-centricity and engagement to drive revenue opportunities, he explained.
“How do we leverage our loyalty and digital marketing to cross-sell and upsell and, really, how do we turbocharge that?” Sampson said. “That’s what our data analytics and data science team will help us do.”