Amazon CEO acknowledges loss of black leaders in internal memo

Amazon CEO acknowledges loss of black leaders in internal memo

Amazon CEO Andy Jesse speaks during the GeekWire Summit on October 5, 2021 in Seattle.

David Rider | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon CEO Andy Jesse acknowledged in a company email Tuesday night the loss of two top black executives who lead warehouses and transportation.

Jassi’s email praised the executives, saying he was “really sorry to see them leave because they both added significant value to the company.” The note was first reported by Seattle tech blog GeekWire.

Jassi’s acknowledgment came Tuesday night after the company announced this week that Alicia Boller-Davis, senior vice president of global customer fulfillment and a member of the company’s leadership team, and David Bozeman, VP of Amazon Transportation Services, would be leaving the company.

“Although we have made substantial progress in hiring Level 8 and Level 10 black leaders over the past two years, it is not on any of us that we are losing two of our most senior black leaders,” said Jassi. The email continued.

His departure came after Amazon announced earlier this month that Worldwide Consumer CEO Dave Clark would be resigning on July 1. On Tuesday, Jassi announced that longtime Amazon executive Doug Harrington will take over the consumer business as the new chief executive of Worldwide Amazon Stores. Boller-Davis was in the running to be a potential successor.

Both were among some of the company’s top black executives. Boller-Davis was the only black member of Amazon’s “S-team,” the company’s senior leadership team.

Amazon has made progress on diversity in its executive ranks in recent years, but according to company data, only 5.5% of its senior leaders were Black as of the end of 2021.

“We have a lot of work left to do,” Jassi’s email concluded.

Here is Jassi’s full note:

I suspect you all saw the organization announcements earlier today.

Coincidentally with these changes, Alicia Boller Davis and Dave Bozeman have decided to leave Amazon. I am truly sorry for his departure as both of them have added significant value to the company.

Alicia joined Amazon at a crazy time (we were just launching 1-Day Prime), and it only got more challenging with the pandemic in the last two years. There is no way our fulfillment network has nearly doubled in the past two years without Alicia’s firm and determined leadership. He’s taught us a lot in his three years at Amazon, has been a valuable Steam member, and I greatly appreciate his contribution and work. Similarly, Dave has been here for a little over five years and has built our middle mile network, which has been an integral part of our transportation capability. There is no transportation network as we know it today without Dave’s leadership and guidance. I have great respect for both of them, we will miss them, and I know that the companies they settle in next will be very lucky.

While we’ve made substantial progress in hiring Level 8 and Level 10 black leaders over the past two years, it’s not on any of us that we’re losing two of our most senior black leaders. Change sometimes brings other changes, and navigating some of these shifts is often challenging. But, I (as is the rest of the team I know) is committed to appointing and developing black senior leaders as well as leaders in other underrepresented areas. We have had many meaningful leadership roles in the company, and we are working hard to be as diverse and inclusive as we can be. We have a lot of work left to do. We will always be vigilant about this, ensuring that we make the right decisions for our customers and business.

Please feel free to share with team members as helpful.

Andy

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