The head of Amazon’s consumer business is leaving the company.
Dave Clark said he would leave the company after 23 years. He was also the brains behind its huge warehouse operations.
Dave Clark, the head of Amazon’s consumer business and the person most responsible for the company’s huge warehouse operations, said on Friday that he was leaving the company after 23 years. He didn’t say what he was going to do next, and the company didn’t pick a new leader right away.
In a tweet, he said, “It’s time for me to start building again.” His last day will be July 1.
In an email to the company’s top leaders, Amazon’s CEO Andy Jassy said he hoped to have an update on succession plans “over the next few weeks.”
Mr. Jassy said, “The last few years have been some of the hardest and most unpredictable in the history of Amazon’s Consumer business, and I’m especially grateful for Dave’s leadership during that time.”
Mr. Clark worked his way up in Amazon’s operations until he was in charge of one of the biggest capital investments in business history. This was when the company was building its own infrastructure to fulfill and deliver orders by air, truck, and van. More than 1.6 million people worked for the company while he was in charge.
At the same time, Mr. Clark’s model has been under more and more pressure. Policymakers and employees have questioned the company’s employment model, which pays a minimum wage of more than $18 an hour on average but depends on a steady flow of workers coming and going. This year, workers on Staten Island voted to join a union, which is being fought by the company.
The most recent financial results for the company showed that Amazon had grown too much, with more warehouse space and workers than customers needed as the increase in e-commerce caused by the pandemic waned. The company’s leaders said that it wanted to change how it spent money.
In a statement at the time, Mr. Jassy said, “Our teams are fully focused on making our fulfillment network more productive and cost-effective.”
Mr. Clark fought hard to protect Amazon. Last year, he criticized Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, in a tweet that he has since deleted. Sanders was supporting workers who wanted to join a union. Mr. Clark wrote, “I often say that we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we offer a progressive workplace.” In another tweet that was later deleted, he said that Mr. Sanders should “save his finger-wagging lecture until after he actually delivers in his own backyard.”
In the past two years, there have been more changes at the top of Amazon than ever before. Jeff Wilke, a long-time executive, retired, and Mr. Clark was given the job of running the consumer business. Then, Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, stepped down as CEO last year and chose Mr. Jassy to take his place.
Mr. Clark had a lot of freedom to build Amazon’s business when Mr. Bezos was in charge. Before he became CEO, Mr. Jassy built and ran Amazon’s cloud computing operations. Now that he is CEO, he is looking into parts of the company that were not under his direct control before. He has promised to address employee concerns in a planned way.
Last fall, Mr. Clark moved from Seattle, where Amazon’s headquarters are, to Dallas, where the company doesn’t have a big presence. Some people in the company took this as a sign that he might be leaving the company soon.