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Amazon Executive Who Led Company's Warehouse Expansion Resigns

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

Amazon Consumer CEO Dave Clark, who spearheaded the tech giant's rapid warehouse expansion from which it has now begun to pull back, has resigned. 

Clark has been with Amazon for 23 years and when he started, the company had only six fulfillment centers, he wrote in a letter he sent to employees and published on Twitter Friday. Clark began leading the consumer division in January 2021, and before that he spent eight years as senior vice president of worldwide operations, according to his LinkedIn page. In these roles, he oversaw the company's logistics operations and warehouse expansion, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Clark wrote in the letter he had been considering leaving "for some time," but wanted to wait until he was sure his teams at Amazon were set up for success. 

"I feel confident that time is now," he wrote. "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." 

In a rapid push to scale its logistics network and shorten the time of delivering products to customers, Amazon has leased up tens of millions of square feet of industrial space in recent years, making it the primary driver of one of the hottest commercial real estate sectors.

In 2020 alone, the e-commerce giant doubled its spending on its logistics network and added more than 100M SF of logistics space to bring its portfolio to more than 285M SF, according to earnings reports. By the end of last year, the company leased more than 370M SF of fulfillment, data centers and other real estate in North America and owned another 16.6M SF. 

Last year, the company began to shift its strategy away from leasing toward owning more of its warehouse portfolio, a move experts saw as an attempt to profit more from the premium it brings to industrial owners. 

Last month, reports emerged that Amazon was looking to sublease between 10M SF and 30M SF of its warehouse portfolio. 

This came after Amazon's chief financial officer said on an earnings call that it has excess capacity in its fulfillment and transportation network, resulting in $2B of additional costs in Q1. The company reported its first quarterly net loss in seven years, according to WSJ. As of Friday afternoon, its stock is down roughly 28% from the start of the year.

Related Topics: Amazon, e-commerce, Dave Clark