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Amazon Exec Who Led Warehouse Expansion To Join Startup Flexport As Co-CEO

Amazon executive Dave Clark (right) meeting with then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly in 2017.

Former Amazon executive Dave Clark, who led the e-commerce behemoth's rapid warehouse expansion, has joined logistics company Flexport.

Clark, Amazon's former consumer CEO, will join the startup on Sept. 1 for a six-month stint as co-CEO. After that, he will fully replace current CEO Ryan Petersen, who will become executive chairman.

Flexport is a San Francisco-based company that was founded in 2013 to digitize data entry and other manual processes in logistics, such as consolidating shipments in cargo containers, Bloomberg reported. It's valued at $8B, according to Forbes.

In a blog post directed at Flexport employees, Peterson hailed Clark's role in building Amazon's "legendary fulfillment, logistics, and transportation network." 

Noting Flexport had grown revenue from $2M in 2014 to $3.3B in 2021,  Peterson said the company was pushing to grow even faster.

"Dave taking over as CEO ensures that Flexport will live up to our potential," he said.

Clark was with Amazon for 23 years and had led the consumer division since January 2021 after a role as senior vice president of worldwide operations. Amazon doubled its logistics network spending in 2020 during his tenure, and was leasing 370M SF in fulfillment, data centers and other North America real estate. It owned another 16.6M SF.

But Amazon executives recently admitted the company has excess fulfillment and transportation capacity, which cost the company $2B in Q1. The company posted its first quarterly net loss since 2015 in April.

Clark told Forbes that he'd spoken with Amazon CEO Andy Jassy about leaving for a CEO role at a smaller company over the last year.

"I feel confident that time is now," Clark wrote in a resignation notice, published on Twitter, earlier this month. "We have a great leadership team across the consumer business that is ready to take on more as the company evolves past the customer experience challenges we took on during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also have a solid multi-year plan to fight the inflationary challenges we are facing in 2022."

 He said he intends to transition Flexport from cross-border shipping to a broader supply chain strategy, adding efficiency and pushing it into automation, much as he did at Amazon where he introduced robots and a transportation arm to the growing company.

“I’d outgrown my joy a little bit,” Clark told Forbes. “I have gotten to have a lot of success at Amazon and a lot of really good things, but I really enjoyed building, creating and designing networks in a supply chain. It’s hard, and I wanted to get back to that ... see if we could build it all over again in some way.”