Birmingham, Ala.-based delivery specialist Shipt has named Kamau Witherspoon as CEO, effective March 1. Witherspoon, previously SVP of operations for Target, succeeds Kelly Caruso in the role.
Target acquired Shipt in 2017 for $550 million, and the company operates as a wholly owned Target subsidiary. Caruso took the helm at the company from Shipt founder Bill Smith in 2019; she, too, was a Target veteran, having been SVP of hardlines for the Minneapolis-based retailer.
In a Shipt news release, Shipt board chairman and Target COO John Mulligan praised Witherspoon's experience leading teams and operations at scale, and the company noted Witherspoon's prior work for UnitedHealthcare and Yum Brands—in addition to Target—managing operational planning and M&A integration. Witherspoon, a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, brings leadership experience that will "help drive Shipt’s continued growth and deepen the commitment to its team, partners, customers and shoppers," Mulligan said in the release.
"The incredible growth Shipt has realized reflects the strength of its differentiated business model and the value its network of personal shoppers delivers to millions of customers with each and every delivery, and I couldn't be more excited to lead the company into its next chapter," Witherspoon said in a statement. In a LinkedIn post announcing his new role, he added: "I've been a Shipt fan since the company launched in the Minneapolis area in 2018, and I’ve seen first-hand how this company impacts Shipt Shoppers, customers and retailers."
Witherspoon shared in a blog post from Target that, as an operations director for the retailer, he saw "what Shipt can unlock for a retail partner like Target and how Shipt can truly help others reach their business goals." Witherspoon said he will relocate with his family to Birmingham later this year; Shipt noted that Witherspoon and Caruso will work together during a transition period in the coming months.
Shipt is the country's second-largest grocery-focused delivery/fulfillment intermediary, retail analytics provider Edge by Ascential noted last summer. Beyond offering same-day delivery from Target stores, Shipt provides last-mile fulfillment for retailers such as Costco, H-E-B and Meijer. In September, the company announced its largest service expansion in three years, adding nearly 1,000 more store locations to its delivery roster, including additional CVS, Party City, and Bed Bath & Beyond locations.
Target saw digital comp sales climb 29% in the third fiscal quarter of 2021, helping propel the company to 12.7% overall comp sales growth in the quarter, which ended Oct. 29. Target is expected to release fourth-quarter and fiscal 2021 results later this month.