Amazon just added the first Black woman to its elite 'S-team,' a group of top execs that serve as Jeff Bezos' most trusted advisers

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Amazon just added the first Black woman to its elite 'S-team,' a group of top execs that serve as Jeff Bezos' most trusted advisers
Alicia Boler Davis, far right, at President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in 2012.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
  • Amazon has added the first Black member to its prestigious S-team, a group of executives that advises CEO Jeff Bezos.
  • Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon's vice president of global customer fulfillment, is joining the S-team — along with John Felton and Dave Treadwell — as consumer chief Jeff Wilke departs the company.
  • Boler Davis joined Amazon last year after serving as a top lieutenant at GM.

Amazon has added three new members to its elite "S-team," including the first Black member to be added to the prestigious group that advises CEO Jeff Bezos.

Jeff Wilke, consumer chief and second-in-command at Amazon, announced on Friday that he's planning to leave the company in the first quarter of 2021. As part of the change, John Felton, Dave Treadwell, and Alicia Boler Davis have been added to the S-team. Felton currently leads global delivery services for Amazon, while Treadwell heads up Amazon's eCommerce Foundation.

Boler Davis is Amazon's vice president of global customer fulfillment. She joined the company in 2019 after serving as head of global manufacturing at GM, where she reported directly to CEO Mary Barra. Boler Davis oversaw manufacturing for three years at GM — before that, she led the company's connected-car efforts, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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"While she was at General Motors, Alicia and I were introduced by a mutual friend and agreed to have lunch," Wilke said in an email to employees on Friday. "We hit it off right away. I was so impressed with her leadership experience, technical acumen, and especially her dedication to the workers on the shop floor ... I was sure we shared the same instincts."

Boler Davis is the fourth female executive to be added to the S-team and the first Black member. Short for senior team, the S-team has consisted of 22 leaders besides Bezos spread across different aspects of Amazon's business. With Wilke's departure and the addition of three new members, the S-team has expanded to 25 total members, including AWS boss Andy Jassy, who reports directly to Bezos, and Dave Clark, who is taking over Wilke's role.

According to Business Insider's Eugene Kim, the S-team meets regularly to discuss big ideas at the company, but those meetings have been more frequent, even daily, during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Boler Davis' addition to the team marks a major step for Amazon in terms of improving diversity efforts. Though more than a quarter of Amazon's total 840,000-person workforce is Black, employees told The New York Times in June that the company needs to do more to add diversity to its executive ranks and to address racism at its fulfillment centers.

Amazon publicly declared its support for the Black Lives Matter movement after protests erupted across the nation in June following the killing of George Floyd. The public support sparked a wave of racist emails sent directly to Bezos, which he posted on Instagram, describing those customers as the type he's "happy to lose."

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