Re/code and Business Insider both have stories about an interview with Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart eCommerce U.S. in which he said that Walmart’s approach to online diversification is changing, conceded that there is tension between the bricks-and-mortar and digital parts of the company, and “said he plans to fulfill a commitment he made in 2016 to stay at Walmart for a full five years.”

Which, if he doesn’t stay any longer, would have him leaving in September 2021. Just FYI.

From Re/code:

• “Instead of looking to acquire commerce companies like the semi-upscale men’s apparel company Bonobos, Walmart is going to create its own ‘digital first’ brands /… Lore thinks his company can incubate new concepts and then bring them to both Walmart.com and Walmart’s network of thousands of retail outlets. He pointed to Allswell, a mattress concept designed to compete with the Caspers of the world, which he says will become a ‘multi-hundred-million-[dollar] brand’ for Walmart that’s required minimal investment.”

• “The way Lore deploys Walmart capital is of particular interest these days … tension exists between Lore and some of his fellow executives at the giant retailer, which has traditionally been focused on profit margins. But Lore’s e-commerce group will lose $1 billion this year — a number that doesn’t include the $3.3 billion it spent on Lore’s company Jet.com in 2016 … But that’s fine, he says. ‘I’m not surprised by it,’ he said. ‘That tension, I would argue, is actually good. It’s not unhealthy in any way’.”

From Business Insider:

• Lore “addressed ‘frustration and tension’ between himself and Greg Foran, the company's head of stores. ‘Greg's a great operator, and they're generating a lot of cash … Over on the e-commerce side, we're investing in it, we're losing money, and we're taking a bet on the future’ … I have much more appreciation for the store business and I think there's a real future with brick-and-mortar stores, specifically for Walmart’.” he said.

KC's View: Almost from the moment that Lore sold Jet to Walmart, the betting here has been that he would leave Walmart as soon as he is contractually able to do so. That’s what he did when he sold Quidsi to Amazon, and my sense of the guy is that he’ll want to be in the position down the road where he can do his own thing and then sell it - again.

Maybe I’m reading too much into these quotes, but it sounds to me like Lore isn’t entirely convinced that Walmart’s traditional store market is the future … and it sounds like he might be chafing a bit in a legacy business. (Though it also has sounded like CEO Doug McMillon has pretty much allowed him to do what needs to be done.)

There are a lot of c-suite folks who have talked about healthy creative tensions within the company, and they often find themselves spending more time with their families. The betting here is that Walmart already is planning for a post-Lore digital existence.