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Amazon executive behind its massive delivery operation to leave after 23 years

Amazon executive behind its massive delivery operation to leave after 23 years

Dave Clark, the entrepreneur who built Amazon.com Inc into a global delivery behemoth, is stepping down as CEO of Amazon’s consumer business to pursue new possibilities, the firm announced on Friday.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said he expects to pick a replacement in the coming weeks and that the business still has work to do in the division Clark led “to get to where we eventually want to be.” After 23 years with the company, Clark will retire on July 1.

The resignation underscores a shift in Amazon’s leadership, which has been dominated by veterans under founder Jeff Bezos for years. The e-commerce and cloud corporation has been jolted by a series of senior departures, including vice presidents and Bezos himself, though executives have attempted to keep the consumer focus and startup attitude of its founder.

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The online retailer is also bracing for economic issues, having recently reported a $2 billion loss due to excess warehousing and transportation capacity, and promised to cut order fulfillment costs soon.

Clark said he wanted to get back to building in a statement on Twitter. “It’s what motivates me,” he said, adding that he’ll be leaving Amazon with “a robust multi-year plan to combat the inflationary difficulties we’ll have in 2022.”

According to a source close to the situation, Clark no longer wanted his new manager, Jassy, to second-guess him. Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.

Clark joined Amazon the day after graduating from business school in May 1999. He quickly progressed through the ranks, rising from an operations manager in Kentucky to last year’s position as CEO of Amazon’s retail, logistics, and other consumer-facing companies. He established an in-house delivery system that challenged FedEx Corp and United Parcel Service Inc in the process.

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Michael Indresano, an Amazon logistics vice president until 2017, remarked, “He took risks that others wouldn’t take.” His old supervisor, Clark, came up with the concept of buying dozens of planes to give Amazon more control over deliveries, and he promoted the employment of robots in warehouses, according to Indresano.

Clark’s departure is the second high-profile departure this week, following Sheryl Sandberg’s announcement that she would be leaving Meta Platforms Inc after 14 years.

Since COVID-19 began spreading more than two years ago, there has been constant turbulence in Amazon’s warehousing and shipping operation, which Clark oversaw. Workers were unwell as home-shopping orders increased, and the company had to implement more than 150 adjustments, ranging from temperature sensors to technologies to track social isolation.

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The shift occurred in tandem with an uptick in union organizing and increased scrutiny of Amazon’s safety, pay, and productivity metrics. Clark vociferously defended Amazon, occasionally trading jabs with detractors. “I often claim we’re the Bernie Sanders of companies,” he tweeted last year, “but that’s not quite true because we genuinely deliver a progressive workplace.”

More recently, Clark has had to battle with a labor shortage and rising gas prices. As a result, among other cost-cutting initiatives, Amazon imposed its first-ever fuel and inflation penalty on merchants who pay Amazon to fulfill their products in the United States.

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