The long-tenured Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) executive often pegged as a potential replacement for CEO Jeff Bezos is stepping down. The company reported in an SEC filing submitted on Friday that Jeffrey Wilke, chief of its worldwide consumer unit, will retire in the first quarter of the coming year. Senior Vice President of Retail Operations Dave Clark will be promoted to the position.
While Bezos is considered the face of the company and is almost synonymous with Amazon, Wilke has left his mark. He's been with the company since 1999, and was promoted to CEO of its worldwide consumer arm in 2016. He's largely credited with building the company's logistics capabilities that allow it to control around 40% of North America's e-commerce market, according to numbers from eMarketer.
Wilke also made a point of ensuring all new employees spent time in fulfillment centers so they would know exactly what happens on the company's front lines, where products are picked and packed after an online purchase is made. It's impossible to know just how much that real-world exposure helped to shape Amazon's operation.
Dave Clark brings a wealth of this frontline experience to the role. He's held multiple managerial roles at several fulfillment centers, and helped to establish fulfillment centers including the one built in Tokyo, Japan. Clark was also hired by Amazon in 1999 after receiving his MBA, but at 47 years old, is five years younger than Wilke. His age and a slightly different perspective on e-commerce's advent may also become evident through changes made when he takes over Wilke's job.