Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) on Friday said its longtime executive and consumer chief Jeff Wilke plans to retire after more than two decades with the company, a decision that appeared to take him out of line to succeed CEO and founder Jeff Bezos.
Dave Clark, 47, another Amazon veteran who has run the retailer’s supply chain and delivery operations, will step into Wilke’s role, the company said in a filing. Wilke aims to retire in the first quarter of next year to explore personal interests, he said in a note to staff that was shared with Reuters.
Wilke, 53, is Amazon’s second-highest ranking officer along with Andy Jassy, who is chief executive of the company’s cloud computing division. That made Wilke a contender to take over the top job from Bezos, 56, if he were to leave. Amazon declined to comment on succession plans.
Bezos, who became the world’s richest person as Amazon’s stock soared, said in another note to staff that Wilke’s “legacy and impact will live on long after he departs.”
Wilke joined Amazon as vice president in 1999 when the young company still sent corporate workers to help pack orders during the holiday shopping season. Now, he oversees a range of businesses including online and physical stores and the loyalty club Prime, which helped make Amazon the world’s largest internet retailer.
Wilke said in his note that he does not have a new job and is “as happy with and proud of Amazon as ever,” but he wants to move on and step aside for others.
Clark, who will take over, currently is Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations. He built out the company’s air cargo fleet and last-mile service that now delivers more packages for Amazon than any other U.S. carrier.
The company last month posted its biggest profit ever, as sales surged during the COVID-19 pandemic.