Amazon

A pair of announcements on Friday at Amazon and Facebook suggests big changes at some of the tech companies that are driving today’s e-commerce.

Jeff Wilke, chief executive officer of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business, will retire sometime early next year, according to an Amazon regulatory filing Friday.

It’s a notable move for a key figure in the e-tailer’s leadership team, as Wilke was the once-presumptive successor for chief executive officer Jeff Bezos. Instead, he will step away at an arguably critical time for the company as it transitions away from emergency mode, thanks to the coronavirus igniting online shopping, to an expansive growth phase.

Wilke will hand the reins to Dave Clark, senior vice president of retail operations.

In a message to staff, Bezos said, “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.” But, of course, he’s also confident in Clark as he takes over as Amazon’s global consumer chief.

The past six months brought a bevy of unique challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis, with crushing e-commerce traffic and logistics obstacles amid warehouse workers’ health and safety concerns. Now Amazon, having achieved some “operational efficiencies,” is looking to open more locations and hire thousands of new employees, with concentrations in New York and Arizona, among other places.

New York City is expected to see as many as 2,000 new technical and corporate staff, along with new office spaces, while Phoenix will play host to more than 3,000 additional full- and part-time jobs in 11 new fulfillment centers by the end of the year.

Now Wilke, who rose through the ranks after starting out in logistics, is apparently leaving any relevant aspects of those initiatives to Clark, a fellow member of Bezos’ elite S-team inner circle of executives.

The storied group of Amazon leaders itself is ripe for change, as the ceo is reportedly adding three more members to the club. Among the new entrants is Alicia Boler Davis, vice president of global customer fulfillment. She’s the latest woman to make the elite team — after Colleen Aubrey, vice president of performance advertising, and Christine Beauchamp, vice president of Amazon Fashion. Notably, Boler Davis is also the first Black female S-team member.

Meanwhile, at Facebook, chief marketing officer Antonio Lucio said that he’s exiting the social media company, effective Sept. 18. Lucio, who has only been in the post for two years, wants to move on and work on the broader effort of diversity and inclusion in marketing and advertising, he said in a blog post.

He explained, “It is a time for reckoning for the nation and my industry and it is time for me to play a more active part in accelerating change.”

Social media pundits and strategists may remember Lucio as the executive in charge of Facebook’s push to brand its family of apps under the parent company’s umbrella.

Dogged by negative attention and criticism, executives were apparently concerned about not getting enough credit for popular apps like Instagram and WhatsApp. Both now carry the Facebook name and more integrated features — such as the single dashboard for Facebook Shop and Instagram Shop.

Facebook hired Lucio in August 2018, just before Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger resigned the following month, in a move largely viewed as a revolt against the parent company’s push to unite the apps.

The broader controversies stem from Facebook’s approach to data privacy and disinformation on its own platform, though. And in his parting remarks, the soon-to-be former marketing chief seemed to empathize with its executive team, calling it “a remarkable group of leaders, sometimes misunderstood by the external world, but deeply caring and committed to ensuring these platforms have a positive impact on the world.”

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