Amazon CEO acknowledges loss of black leaders in internal memo

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy speaks during the GeekWire Summit in Seattle on October 5, 2021.

David Ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy acknowledged the loss of two black top executives who ran warehousing and transportation in a company email Tuesday night.

Jassy’s email praised the executives, adding that he’s “really sorry to see them go as they’ve both added significant value to the company.” The note was previously reported by Seattle Tech Blog Geekwire.

Jassy’s confirmation came Tuesday night after the company announced this week that Alicia Boler-Davis, senior vice president of global customer fulfillment and a member of the company’s executive team, and David Bozeman, VP of Amazon Transportation Services, were leaving the company.

“Although we’ve made significant strides in hiring Level 8 and Level 10 Black executives over the past two years, it has not escaped any of us that we are losing two of our oldest Black executives,” Jassy’s email continued.

Their departures came after Amazon announced earlier this month that Worldwide Consumer CEO Dave Clark would step down on July 1. On Tuesday, Jassy announced that longtime Amazon exec Doug Herrington will take over the consumer business as the new chief executive of Worldwide Amazon Stores. Boler-Davis was in the running for a possible successor.

Both were among the company’s few black top executives. Boler-Davis was the only black member of Amazon’s “S-Team,” the company’s top leadership team.

Amazon has made strides in diversity in its leadership roles in recent years, but still only 5.5% of its leaders were black by the end of 2021, according to company data.

“We still have work to do,” Jassy’s email concluded.

Here was Jassy’s full note:

Guess you all saw the org announcements earlier today.

Concurrent with these changes, Alicia Boler Davis and Dave Bozeman have decided to leave Amazon. I’m really sorry to see them go as they both added significant value to the company.

Alicia joined Amazon at a crazy time (we just launched 1-Day Prime) and it’s only gotten more challenging over the past two years with the pandemic. There is no way we could have nearly doubled our fulfillment network in the last two years without Alicia’s unwavering and persistent leadership. She has taught us a lot in three years at Amazon, has been a valuable Steam member and I really appreciate her contribution and work. Similarly, Dave has been here for just over five years and has built our Middle Mile network which has been an integral part of our transportation capacity. There is no transport network as we know it today without Dave’s leadership and guidance. I have a lot of respect for both of them, we will miss them and I know the companies they settle in next time will be very lucky.

While we’ve made significant progress in hiring Level 8 and 10 Black executives over the past two years, it has not escaped any of us that we are losing two of our oldest Black executives. Change sometimes brings other changes, and managing some of those changes is often difficult. But I am (as I know the rest of the team) committed to continuing to hire and develop Black leaders as well as leaders in other underrepresented segments. We hold many significant leadership positions within the company and are working hard to become as diverse and inclusive as we wish to be. We still have a lot to do. We will remain vigilant while ensuring we are making the right decisions for customers and the business.

Please don’t hesitate to share it with team members if it’s helpful.

andy