Another Jeff Leaves Amazon

Sarah HallamPeople on the Move
Amazon

A close-up of one of Amazon's corporate offices in Silicon Valley. Editorial credit: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

Jeff Blackburn, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Amazon, announced in a company memo on Wednesday he would be departing the company after 22 years. Blackburn, who just returned from a year-long sabbatical, was instrumental in shaping some of Amazon’s most popular products such as Prime Video and Amazon Studios and has previously been rumored as a potential successor to CEO Jeff Bezos.

Blackburn hinted that he would be moving into a new role somewhere else, but hasn’t made his new position public yet.

His departure is the latest in a C-Suite level switch-up at Amazon, giving newly appointed CEO Andy Jassy a chance to build up a new executive team. Earlier this month, Bezos announced he would be stepping down as CEO and moving into an executive chairman role, handing over the reins to Jassy, former head of Amazon Web Services. In October, Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke announced he would be leaving the company in the first quarter, and that former head of operations Dave Clark will be succeeding him.

“I have an important update for you all, one I know you’ve been waiting on for a long time,” Blackburn wrote in an internal memo, obtained by GeekWire. “The ‘too many Jeff’s’ bug that’s been bothering many of you for two decades has been fixed...I am officially leaving Amazon today.”

In 1996, Blackburn was working as a junior investment banker at Deutsche Bank. In that role, he was assigned to work on the Amazon IPO, a company known then just for selling books. He joined Amazon soon after that in 1998. In the memo, Blackburn told his colleagues that he hopes he pushed Amazon “to be even more bold, see around corners and think big.”

“With the core business in as strong a position as it’s ever been, I know that’s what customers will want from you over the next decade,” Blackburn said in the memo. “Terrific new s-team leaders have stepped into these big roles and are continuing to build and boldly invent. I admire and particularly commend your leadership for the past 11 months: watching the company execute during COVID has been astonishing – your teams deliver Amazon’s best when the best is most needed.

Bezos responded on the company’s intranet that it was “a lucky day for us when you got assigned that IPO roadshow” and thanked Blackburn for his more than two decades of leadership.

Even though Blackburn has declined to announce his next move at the moment, he told his colleagues they will know his next move “soon.”

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