Amazon’s Head Of Consumer Heads For Retirement

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Image credit: Amazon

Jeff Wilke is to retire from the company next year after 22 years with Amazon, leading its worldwide e-commerce and physical retail business since 2016

Jeff Wilke, head of Amazon’s consumer business, is to retire from the company next year after a tenure of 22 years, he announced on Friday.

Wilke joined Amazon in a logistics role in 1999 and has been chief executive of worldwide consumer, including e-commerce and the company’s physical retail business, since 2016.

He said he was not leaving to take a job elsewhere, and reiterated his support for Amazon chief Jeff Bezos.

Wilke is to be succeeded in the role by David Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations.

Image credit: Amazon
An Amazon Go retail store in Seattle. Image credit: Amazon

Operations background

In an email to his team, Wilke described his early days at Amazon, when senior executives would fly to the company’s warehouses to help with the Christmas shopping rush.

Amazon currently has more than 175 warehouses worldwide, including more than 110 in the US.

Wilke said the Covid-19 pandemic had brought him back to his beginnings working with operations teams.

“Covid-19 has pulled me back to my roots in operations as I work with the teams building antigen testing capacity, which we’ll deploy first to our front-line employees,” he wrote.

“I’m so proud of the dedication our people have shown as they pick, pack, ship, and deliver to hundreds of millions of customers around the world who depend on us.”

Criticism

Amazon has faced a dual challenge with the pandemic, as the company struggled initially to keep up with skyrocketing demand, while facing criticism from employees over health risks.

The company has responded to criticism by implementing enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures, increased use of personal protective gear such as masks and implementing staff temperature checks across its operations.

In an email of his own, Bezos said Wilke was “an incredible teacher to all of us” and said Clark was well-suited to take over Wilke’s role.

Wilke is one of Amazon’s top executives and had been considered a potential successor to Bezos should he ever step down.

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