One of Amazon's most powerful executives, Jeff Wilke, is stepping down in early 2021

One of Amazon's most powerful executives, Jeff Wilke, is stepping down in early 2021
Jeff Wilke, Amazon's CEO of worldwide consumer.REUTERS/ Mike Blake
  • Amazon's consumer chief, Jeff Wilke, is leaving the company in early 2021.
  • Wilke, who reports directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is one of the most powerful executives at the company, overseeing all of Amazon's consumer operations.
  • He will be replaced by Dave Clark, Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide operations.
  • Bezos praised Wilke in an email to employees: "Jeff's legacy and impact will live on long after he departs. He is simply one of those people without whom Amazon would be completely unrecognizable."

Amazon's consumer boss, Jeff Wilke, is stepping down in early 2021.

CNBC was the first to spot a regulatory filing announcing that Wilke would retire from the company in the first quarter of next year.

Wilke is one of the most powerful executives at Amazon, overseeing the company's global consumer retail business. Wilke, along with Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy, reports directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and is part of his elite "S-team." Wilke has long been considered the second-most-important person at the company, where he has worked for over 20 years.
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"I don't have a new job, and am as happy with and proud of Amazon as ever," Wilke said in an email to employees. "I treasure the deep relationships we forged as we grew this company. From Jeff Bezos and my S-team colleagues to the hundreds and hundreds of leaders throughout Amazon who apply our Leadership Principles every single day. We worked hard. And we had a blast. So why leave? It's just time."

The filing said Wilke would be replaced by Dave Clark, Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide operations. Clark, who has been at Amazon since 1999, leads the company's logistics business.

Amazon employees told Business Insider's Rachel Premack earlier this year that Clark was a visionary leader who had garnered loyal support within Amazon's ranks. While some said he could set irrationally high standards, others praised his leadership during the coronavirus crisis.
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Bezos circulated Wilke's email to Amazon's global workforce and praised Wilke for his contribution to Amazon. Read Bezos' full email below:

After more than two decades, Jeff Wilke is planning to retire from Amazon early next year. I've attached below the heartfelt note he just sent to his organization sharing that news. Since Jeff joined the company, I have been lucky enough to have him as my tutor. I've learned so much from him, and I'm not the only one. He's been an incredible teacher to all of us. That form of leadership is so leveraged. When you see us taking care of customers, you can thank Jeff for it. And there's this important point: in tough moments and good ones, he's been just plain fun to work with. Never underestimate the importance of that. It makes a difference.
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Jeff's legacy and impact will live on long after he departs. He is simply one of those people without whom Amazon would be completely unrecognizable. Thank you, Jeff, for your contributions and your friendship.

Jeff has also set us up to succeed in his absence. I can't think of someone more suited to step into Jeff's role than Dave Clark. Those of you who have worked with Dave know his incredible passion for serving customers and supporting our employees – I am excited for him to lead our teams and continue innovating for customers.

I'd also like to congratulate our new S-team members Alicia Boler Davis, John Felton, and Dave Treadwell. I look forward to inventing with you.
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