Amazon names consumer CEO as two senior Black leaders depart

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves

(Reuters) -Amazon.com Inc on Tuesday named long-time executive Doug Herrington to head its consumer business, part of a reorganization that includes departures of two of the most senior Black leaders from the online retailer.

Amazon, once ridiculed for having more top officials named Jeff than women or other underrepresented groups in leadership, said in an internal email seen by Reuters that Alicia Boler Davis is leaving as senior vice president of global customer fulfillment. The only Black executive on the elite ‘S-team’ advising CEO Andy Jassy, she is leaving to pursue other opportunities, Amazon said, as is Vice President Dave Bozeman. He was “instrumental in building and developing our middle mile network” for shipping, according to the email.

Amazon declined to share how many of its vice presidents identify as Black. It said it is committed to having diverse leadership and saw a nearly 70% increase in Black directors and vice presidents in the United States in 2021 from the previous year.

Last year, a manager sued Amazon for discrimination and harassment, alleging Black people were hired into lower-level roles and promoted more slowly than white workers.

Amazon said it strives for equity and that the claims did not reflect its values.

The latest shakeup follow news this month that Consumer CEO Dave Clark was leaving to join logistics technology startup Flexport as co-chief executive in September. Boler Davis, Bozeman and Herrington all reported to Clark, Amazon said. The company also renamed its consumer division the Worldwide Amazon Stores businesses, which Herrington will run.

A 17-year veteran of the online retailer, Herrington joined Amazon after working for the now defunct online grocer Webvan. He launched AmazonFresh in 2007 and has led the company’s North American consumer unit for more than seven years.

Amazon, which has shut its bookstores and some other physical retail outlets, has been focusing on its grocery business, which faces tough competition from U.S. retailers including Walmart Inc and Kroger.

The company named John Felton, an 18-year Amazon veteran, as head of its operations division that focuses on delivery and supply chains, aiming to optimize transfers between its facilities and trim expenses.

Amazon in April reported that excess warehouse and transportation capacity cost it about $2 billion in the first quarter.

Amazon shares rose more than 2% on Tuesday along with a broader rise on Wall Street led by megacap growth and tech stocks.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Jeffrey Dastin in Las Vegas; Editing by Aditya Soni, Vinay Dwivedi and David Gregorio)

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