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Amazon CEO acknowledges loss of Black leaders in internal memo

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy speaks during the GeekWire Summit in Seattle on Oct. 5, 2021.

David Ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy acknowledged losing two top Black executives, who led warehouses and transportation, in a company email Tuesday night.

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Jassy’s email sung the executives’ praises, adding that he’s “truly sorry to see them leave as they both have added significant value to the company.” The note was previously reported by Seattle tech blog Geekwire.

Jassy’s acknowledgement Tuesday night came after the company announced this week that Alicia Boler-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 departing the company.

“Though we’ve made substantial progress in hiring Level 8 and Level 10 black leaders the last two years, it’s not lost on any of us that we’re losing two of our most senior black leaders,” Jassy’s email continued.

Their departures came after Amazon announced earlier this month that CEO of Worldwide Consumer Dave Clark will resign on July 1. On Tuesday, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced long-time Amazon executive Doug Herrington will take over the consumer business as the new chief executive of Worldwide Amazon Stores. Boler-Davis was in the running to be a potential successor.

Both were among the company’s few top Black executives. Boler-Davis was the only Black member of Amazon’s “S-team,” which is the company’s senior leadership team.

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

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

Here was Jassy’s whole note:

Suspect that you all saw the org announcements earlier today.

Coincident with these changes, Alicia Boler Davis and Dave Bozeman have decided to leave Amazon. I’m truly sorry to see them leave as they both 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 the last two years. There’s no way we could have nearly doubled our Fulfillment network the last two years without Alicia’s steadfast and tenacious leadership. She has taught us a lot in three years at Amazon, has been a valuable steam member, and I’m very appreciate of her contribution and work. Similarly, Dave has been here a little over five years and built out 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 a lot of respect for them both, we will miss them, and I know that the companies where they next settle will be very fortunate.

Though we’ve made substantial progress in hiring Level 8 and Level 10 black leaders the last two years, it’s not lost on any of us that we’re losing two of our most senior black leaders. Change sometimes brings about other changes, and it’s often challenging to navigate some of these shifts. But, I am (as I know the rest of s team is) committed to continuing to hire and develop black senior leaders, as well as leaders in other under-represented segments. We have a lot of meaningful leadership roles at the company, and we’re working hard to become as diverse and inclusive as we desire. We have a lot of work left to do. We’ll remain vigilant about it while always making sure we make the right decisions for customers and the business.

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