Walmart’s US ecommerce chief is leaving the company, drawing a line under a near five-year period in which the world’s largest bricks-and-mortar retailer expanded its online operations rapidly yet remained a digital minnow compared with the might of Amazon.

Marc Lore joined Walmart amid fanfare in 2016 when the retailer spent $3.3bn to acquire, the ecommerce marketplace he founded, and put him in charge of all the company’s US online operations.

The company said on Friday that the 49-year-old planned to stand aside from his position at the end of this month. He would complete his five-year contractual commitment to Walmart in an advisory role until September.

Doug McMillon, Walmart’s chief executive, said Mr Lore was leaving after the company moved to bring together its online and bricks and mortar businesses.

“It has always been clear the customer wants one, seamless brand experience,” Mr McMillon wrote in an email to staff. “With our structural changes behind us, we have concluded it’s time for Marc to transition out of his everyday role.”

Mr Lore, an entrepreneur who had previously founded other internet companies including Quidsi and The Pit, led Walmart’s efforts to accelerate its push into online shopping, rolling out same-day delivery and expanding its selection of items available to order from about 10m to more than 80m. The company has also found some success in online groceries, where Amazon is a less formidable competitor.

“Marc’s expertise and aggressiveness have been game-changing,” Mr McMillon wrote. “We have learned a lot from him.”

However, various ecommerce initiatives have had mixed results and the company has exited some brands that it had acquired, including Modcloth, a woman’s clothing website. Jet itself has disappeared as a consumer brand.

Despite its aggressive online growth, particularly during the pandemic, the company’s digital sales in the US accounted for 12 per cent of the total in the three months to the end of October.

Instead of appointing a successor, Walmart said that its US business — including ecommerce — would come under the command of John Furner, another top executive.

In a post on LinkedIn on Friday, Mr Lore wrote that it had been an honour to work for Walmart. “Walmart is proof that a big company can be fast and nimble.”

Mr Lore has been talking about various projects, including apossible reality television show, a person close to him said. He isalso talking about buying a sports team.