Another seat in the tech sector’s game of musical chairs is up for grabs.
After 23 years, Dave Clark, chief executive officer of Amazon’s worldwide consumer division, will be leaving the company, it was announced Friday. His last day will be July 1, according to a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In a Tweet, Clark nodded to his “incredible time at Amazon but it’s time for me to build again. It’s what drives me.”
The move appears to have caught Amazon chief executive officer Andy Jassy by surprise. Dealing with a leadership vacuum is probably not the way he planned to spend July, his first anniversary as the company’s top executive following Jeff Bezo’s 2021 departure.
“The past few years have been among the most challenging and unpredictable we’ve faced in the history of Amazon’s Consumer business, and I’m particularly appreciative of Dave’s leadership during that time,” Jassy said in a note posted to Amazon’s blog.
He made it clear that the decision was Clark’s, not the company’s, and that “we’re trying to be thoughtful in our plans for Dave’s succession and any changes we make. I expect to be ready with an update for you over the next few weeks.”
Whatever those plans turn out to be, the change will likely reverberate across the company’s core retail operations.
Clark was considered a die-hard “Amazonian.” After earning an MBA from the University of Tennessee, he entered the company’s operations pathways program in 1999. He rose through the ranks, going from an operations manager in Kentucky to, eventually, senior vice president of retail operations. Then he stepped into the role left by Jeff Wilke, chief executive of Amazon’s retail business, in 2021. The scope of the responsibility covered the e-commerce site, physical stores, Prime business and a sprawling warehouse and logistics network.
He was instrumental in expanding those operations across robotics, transportation, warehouses and labor — a purview that often drew negative public and regulatory attention over what critics considered anti-union tactics.
It’s not clear whether those pressures played into Clark’s own resignation now. In fact, like Sheryl Sandberg at Meta, he didn’t offer much of a reason for leaving.
“As much as I have loved the ride, it is time for me to say goodbye to start a new journey,” Clark wrote in an email that he shared on Twitter. “For some time, I have discussed my intent to transition out of Amazon with my family and others close to me, but I wanted to ensure the teams were setup [sic] for success. I feel confident that time is now.”
Apparently, the decision may have been made quite a while ago, at least on a personal basis. Reportedly, Clark and his wife sold their home in Washington, near Amazon’s headquarters, last fall to move to Texas.