Clark will officially step through the front doors of the global logistics technology unicorn on September 1 and serve as co-CEO for six months before taking complete control from founder and CEO Ryan Petersen.
Flexport’s half-year handoff window is intended to ensure a smooth transition, and in March 2023, Petersen will transition to Executive Chairman and primarily focus on the company's long-term vision and strategy.
Petersen’s decision to concentrate on the big picture leaves Clark overseeing the $8 billion company’s day-to-day operations. Clark is an experienced logistics executive and brings 23 years of knowledge he has garnered while building Amazon’s consumer business, including a stint as the unit’s CEO. While at Amazon, Clark picked up the nickname “The Sniper” for his ability to quickly and accurately spot and resolve issues in the company’s vast logistics network.
When Clark left the e-commerce and supply chain titan last week, he called himself “a builder at heart” and revealed that he has had his eye on the door “for some time.” At Flexport, Clark will have the opportunity to build on Petersen’s work and has the war chest to do so as the company raised nearly $1 billion in a Series E funding round this past February.
In Flexport’s hiring announcement, Peterson said that Flexport needed the right leader to “unlock our full potential by building the most productive and efficient operation.” He went on to call Clark a builder and an entrepreneur with “the leadership experience that will shepherd Flexport into the most exciting phase of our journey."
In his statement, Clark praised Petersen for growing Flexport from a digital freight forwarder to a technology platform for global trade, which generated $3.3 billion in revenue last year. Clark added, "the logistics market is a multi-trillion dollar opportunity, and Flexport is just getting started advancing the global supply chain for the benefit of all.”
Flexport has definitely picked an experienced operator to lead it into its next phase. However, it is yet to be seen Clark will truly be a culture fit at Flexport. Clark, a former music teacher, has spent his entire corporate career at Amazon, which has developed a reputation for its “intense” and “bruising” workplace cultures during his tenure.
On the other hand, Flexport brings a startup mentality to its culture and even landed on Inc.’s Best Workplaces list in 2019, with 80% of employees reporting that they feel like they “belong” at the company and 75% saying they can “thrive” in the company’s culture. Petersen has previously said that at Flexport, “culture is the most important competitive advantage we can build.” Should Clark bring traces of Amazon’s workplace environment to Flexport, there could be a rise in turnover at the logistics platform.