ODP taps Amazon’s Rung for Varis role

ODP Taps Amazon’s Rung for Varis Role

(July 20, 2021) - The ODP Corporation has persuaded another top Amazon executive to joins its new B2B technology platform, Varis.

According to a LinkedIn entry – which was later confirmed by ODP – Anne Rung, who had been heading the public sector arm of Amazon Business in the US since 2016, is now SVP Public Sector at Varis.

The Varis branding for ODP’s new procurement platform hasn’t yet been officially announced, but can be seen on a new website. Interestingly, there is no reference to Varis being part of The ODP Corporation.

Rung’s appointment sees her team up again with her old boss at Amazon Business, Prentis Wilson, who was named President of ODP’s – as then unnamed – technology unit in February 2021. Other ex-Amazonians on Varis’ leadership team include Daniel Smith (Chief Commercial Officer), Manuela Ajayi (SVP Core Platforms Strategy), Ragui Selwanes (SVP Payments) and Jen Walden (Senior Director, Executive Programs and Business Operations).

Details of what Varis will actually do are still a bit sketchy. On its website, it says it “creates straightforward solutions that enable buyers and sellers to interact in order to create shared value” and that it’s “a new technology business focused on transforming digital commerce between buying organisations and suppliers”. The two solutions currently advertised on the site are procure-to-pay provider BuyerQuest – which ODP acquired earlier this year – and its sister company PunchOut Catalogs.

Talking about the platform during an investor presentation in June, ODP CFO Anthony Scaglione said there was “a tremendous gap in the marketplace” to provide a better e-commerce experience in a B2B setting – with less than 20% of more than $8 trillion in B2B transactions actually enabled online.

He said the combination of ODP’s existing customer base, its physical logistics assets and the new platform made for a “compelling proposition for buyers and suppliers”.

All signs are pointing to an Amazon Business-style of B2B marketplace. However, we shall have to wait until ODP’s second quarter earnings conference call – likely to be in the first week of August – to find out more. - (OPI)