Amazon chief of consumer business Jeff Wilke, who was touted as a likely successor to Jeff Bezos, will depart from the company next year.
Wilke, who is considered to be the second-highest ranking executive at Amazon, will step down in the first quarter of next year to “explore personal interests that have taken a back seat for over two decades”.
Having worked for Amazon since 1999, Wilke is understood to have played a key role in building and expanding the company’s vast logistics network, which is now among the largest in the world.
The move will come as a surprise to many who saw Wilke as a potential successor to Bezos, alongside Amazon Web Services (AWS) chief executive Andy Jassy, who will now become the company’s longest service executive.
“In tough moments and good ones, he’s been just plain fun to work with,” Bezos said of Wilke, adding that his legacy will “live on long after he departs”.
Dave Clark, Amazon’s current head of logistics, will succeed Wilke when he leaves next year after helping lead Amazon’s dramatic growth during the pandemic.
Clark joined Amazon in 2013 and has since overseen Amazon’s global supply chain, delivery and customer service operations, driving the rapid growth in all three over the past few months to meet the spike in demand during the coronavirus.
“I can’t think of someone more suited to step into Jeff’s role than Dave Clark,” Bezos added.
“Those of you who have worked with Dave know his incredible passion for serving customers and supporting our employees — I am excited for him to lead our teams and continue innovating for customers.”
It comes amid more significant moves within Amazon’s top echelon as three new executives have been invited to join the company’s “S-Team”, Bezos’ closest advisors.
This included the addition of the team’s first black member Alicia Boler Davis, who is currently vice president of global customer fulfilment.