February 19, 2014, 11:51 AM

Wine.com hires veterans from Shutterfly and Williams-Sonoma

The online retailer builds its executive team by hiring Peter Elarde as chief marketing officer and Greg Tatem as vice president, engineering.

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Online wine retailer Wine.com Inc. has hired Peter Elarde as chief marketing officer and Greg Tatem as vice president, engineering. Elarde will oversee marketing, corporate sales, product management and user experience as CMO, and Tatem will lead platform architecture, engineering design and Internet operations.

“We’re on a roll. Wine.com is profitable, growing, hiring and innovating,” says Rich Bergsund, CEO of Wine.com, No. 239 in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Top 500 Guide.

Both Elarde and Tatem have experience with other top online retailers. Elarde spent 10 years with Shutterfly Inc. (No. 49) in senior positions including CMO and senior vice president of new business initiatives. During his time at Shutterfly, the company grew from $10 million to over $500 million in revenue and a successful IPO, Wine.com says. He also spent time at technology startups such as Achieva.com, Tom Snyder Productions and The Learning Co.

Tatem spent three years at Williams-Sonoma Inc. (No. 22) where he oversaw the e-commerce platform that serves the company’s five brands. He also developed a personalization engine to serve users customized content. During his time at Williams-Sonoma, e-commerce grew to more than 40% of the retailer’s $4 billion in total revenue, Wine.com says.

In July, Bergsund took to his blog to counter a claim that the web-only retailer was up for sale by its majority owner, Baker Capital.

An article on GrowthCapitalist.com, an online news source covering private and public company finance, said that Baker Capital was attempting to sell off Wine.com because the company isn’t profitable despite $70 million in annual sales. The article said initial attempts to sell the wine merchant haven’t drawn interest and that its main asset is the domain name.

Bergsund noted in his blog that Wine.com’s traffic grew 2.4 times to top 15.6 million visits in the previous four years; bottles sold and shipped doubled to 2.7 million; revenue grew 70% to $75 million; inventory turns increased to 12 times; and net fulfillment cost per order declined by 75% during the four-year period. 

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