Amazon Hardware Boss To Step Down

Head of Amazon’s hardware devices, David Limp, is to leave this year – months after assuring Amazon’s commitment to Alexa

Amazon is to lose a long-serving senior vice president in charge of consumer electronic devices, marking another high-level executive departure under tenure of CEO Andy Jassy.

The executive in question is David Limp, senior vice president of Devices & Services, the division responsible for the Kindle, Echo hardware line and the Alexa personal assistant business. Jassy in a memo to Amazon staff confirmed Limp’s departure later this year.

Limp had joined Amazon back in 2010 and is a member of Amazon’s senior leadership team, or “s-team” as it’s known internally.

David Limp, senior vice president of Devices & Services, Amazon.
Image Credit Amazon

David Limp

A number of senior Amazon executives have left Amazon under CEO Andy Jassy, who took over from founder Jeff Bezos two years ago.

Those departures from the senior leadership team included Worldwide Consumer CEO Dave Clark; media and entertainment leader Jeff Blackburn; Amazon Web Services executive Charlie Bell; customer fulfillment leader Alicia Boler Davis; and corporate affairs head Jay Carney.

Jassy’s memo described the departure as a retirement from Amazon, but Limp is only 56 years old, and in the memo Limp suggested he will work somewhere else, but “it won’t be in the consumer electronics space.”

“I wanted to share with this group that after 13.5 years with Amazon and countless contributions to the company, Dave Limp has decided to retire from Amazon,” wrote Jassy. “Under Dave’s leadership, Amazon has become one of the world’s leading innovators in building devices and underlying services that customers love.”

“Dave will remain in his role for the next few months, and we’ll announce his successor in the coming weeks,” said Jassy. “I remain excited and quite optimistic about the products and services we’re building in Devices and Services – we’re at the relative beginning of what’s possible and what I believe these businesses will add for customers and the company.

Hardware concerns

Limp’s departure however comes after he rushed to reassure concerned Alexa customers, when Amazon implemented major job cuts.

The reassurance came after Jassy had increased the number of staff being laid off to 18,000, with the Amazon Alexa voice assistant division being impacted heavily.

Matters were not helped when it was reported that the division had fallen out of favour with Amazon’s current management.

Alexa was said to be championed by former CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, but it is alleged that Alexa has never managed to create an ongoing revenue stream for Amazon.

Indeed, some reports have suggested the division is losing as much as $10 billion a year.

It has also been suggested that just about every plan to monetise Alexa had failed, with one former employee branding Alexa “a colossal failure of imagination,” and “a wasted opportunity.”

New ventures?

Limp has been a regular face at Amazon hardware events, which are typically held each Autumn, and the firm is set to unveil new products at its annual event 20 September, hosted at the company’s Northern Virginia headquarters, known as HQ2.

David Limp in the departure memo again sought to reassure staff, saying the team was so good and they are “masters of their craft.”

“It’s not because I am less bullish about the devices and services business,” wrote Limp. “I am amazed at the momentum of all our businesses. Engagement is at an all-time high, customer satisfaction is also at some of our highest levels ever.”

“Our current roadmap is amazing and what we have in the pipeline just makes me smile,” said Limp. “On top of all of that, we are living in the golden age of computer science. Our teams are in the middle of this revolution and I am so excited for the world to see what we have brewing for customers.”

“Andy has been an amazing mentor to me throughout my tenure here and the past couple years working directly for him have been really great,” Limp added. “I love this company, it has taught me so much on what it takes to scale and really be customer obsessed. In my opinion there is no better company to invent at scale.”

But Limp said he has been doing this job on and off for nearly 30+ years (he previously worked at Apple and Palm).

“I am not sure what that future is right now, with the notable exception that it won’t be in the consumer electronics space,” he concluded. “I will be around for a few more months and we have a lot to deliver on with our fall products. Given that, you should expect the same bug reports from me for a little while more…”