Amazon govt Jeff Blackburn speaks at his alma mater, Dartmouth Faculty, in 2015. (Dartmouth / Eli Burakian Picture, used with permission.)

One other Jeff is transferring on from his longtime Amazon govt position, filling out the image of what has develop into an enormous management transition on the tech big.

Jeff Blackburn, the senior vice chairman who performed a key behind-the-scenes position as certainly one of Jeff Bezos’ high lieutenants for greater than 20 years, is leaving Amazon as of as we speak, following a year-long sabbatical, he wrote in a message to Amazon’s senior leaders, posted to the corporate’s intranet and obtained by GeekWire.

“I’m not retiring and may have information on what’s subsequent for me quickly,” Blackburn wrote.

The corporate isn’t saying the place Blackburn is anticipated to land subsequent, however Bezos made it clear that it’s not more likely to be a topic of rivalry.

Blackburn “has stored me within the loop on his subsequent chapter, and I can guarantee you it’s a really thrilling one!” Bezos wrote in his response, additionally posted Tuesday to the Amazon intranet. “I predict that Jeff shall be each bit as superb in his new position as he’s been in all his roles at Amazon. Simple prediction. Massive congrats to you, Jeff.” [See full messages from Bezos and Blackburn below.]

A lot has modified in Amazon’s govt suite in Blackburn’s 12 months away.

  • Bezos this month announced plans to step down as CEO within the third quarter of this 12 months, shifting to a task as govt chairman, changed as CEO by Andy Jassy, the longtime Amazon Internet Providers chief.
  • Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s Worldwide Client CEO, announced in October that he can be leaving within the first quarter of this 12 months, substitute by Dave Clark, the previous head of worldwide operations.

Blackburn confirmed his humorousness in his message to the senior management staff, or s-team, joking about one problem that his departure will resolve.

“The ‘too many Jeff’s’ bug that’s been bothering lots of you for 20 years has been fastened!” he wrote. “Over time, we’ve all the time had a number of Jeff’s on s-team—Jeff Wilke, Jeff B, myself, and for a time Jeff Holden.  It’s really how I turned “jblack” to lots of you and to workers throughout Amazon.  Wilke’s retirement meant one much less Jeff, and as we speak, I’m taking it down to simply the unique.”

Like Wilke, Blackburn had been considered beforehand as a possible successor to Bezos as CEO, not for continuity of first names, however for depth of expertise. As Blackburn famous in memo, his affiliation with Amazon began when he was a junior funding banker at Deutsche Financial institution, assigned to work on the Amazon IPO. Throughout his greater than 21 years of energetic work on the firm, Blackburn led key companies together with Amazon’s third-party gross sales, Prime Video, Amazon Music and Amazon Promoting, working alongside Bezos on key enterprise initiatives.

In his message Tuesday, Blackburn recalled one pivotal second: “In early 1998, I used to be advised by the legendary CFO Pleasure Covey, that the web site may develop into greater than books… ‘you must simply come up right here now, belief me’. Wow, you imply like Tapes & CDs & VHS? Completed.”

Amazon exec Jeff Blackburn (proper) talks with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on the sidelines of a Monday Night time Soccer sport in Seattle in December 2019. (GeekWire Picture / Taylor Soper)

He additionally navigated public challenges alongside the way in which. In 2018, Blackburn confronted criticism from Amazon Studios workers for what they reportedly perceived as him glossing over the circumstances of studio chief Roy Worth’s resignation following a sexual harassment allegation in opposition to Worth. Talking with workers, Blackburn “sought to forged the state of affairs as a recent begin for a company already enterprise a daring new technique,” however his message “annoyed some workers,” information publication The Info reported at the time.

One impact of Blackburn’s departure shall be to provide Jassy an opportunity to reshape extra of the Amazon management staff as he assumes the reins as CEO later this 12 months. A key announcement that has but to be made by the corporate is who will succeed Jassy as CEO of AWS, the corporate’s fast-growing and worthwhile cloud division.

In his message to the management staff, Blackburn stated he hopes that he pushed them and Amazon “to be much more daring, see round corners, suppose large,” throughout his tenure. “With the core enterprise in as sturdy a place because it’s ever been, I do know that’s what clients will need from you over the subsequent decade.”

Right here is Blackburn’s message, adopted by Bezos’ reply, as posted to Amazon’s intranet.

Steam: I’ve an necessary replace for you all, one I do know you’ve been ready on for a very long time. The “too many Jeff’s” bug that’s been bothering lots of you for 20 years has been fastened! Over time, we’ve all the time had a number of Jeff’s on s-team—Jeff Wilke, Jeff B, myself, and for a time Jeff Holden. It’s really how I turned “jblack” to lots of you and to workers throughout Amazon. Wilke’s retirement meant one much less Jeff, and as we speak, I’m taking it down to simply the unique.

I’m formally leaving Amazon as we speak. In late 1996, I used to be a junior funding banker at Deutsche Financial institution, assigned to a possible Amazon IPO mission. I did the excel fashions, wrote chunks of the AMZN IPO prospectus, and so forth. One of many issues that sticks with me to this present day is that I used to be the one who carried all of the staff’s heavier baggage throughout our three weeks of worldwide journey. There was no Zoom or Chime, so it was fairly a grueling course of again then.

In early 1998, I used to be advised by the legendary CFO Pleasure Covey, that the web site may develop into greater than books… “you must simply come up right here now, belief me”. Wow, you imply like Tapes & CDs & VHS? Completed.

I joined Amazon full-time quickly thereafter. I’d do a whole lot of constructing with you all – 3P market, M&A and BusDev groups, A9, Promoting, Amazon Music, Prime Video, Amazon Studios. Throughout my 22 years, I’d wish to suppose I by no means stopped serving to carry these heavier baggage. The newer initiatives, those that took additional braveness and long-term considering by our staff. And I hope that, on the margin, I pushed s-team and Amazon to be much more daring, see round corners, suppose large. With the core enterprise in as sturdy a place because it’s ever been, I do know that’s what clients will need from you over the subsequent decade.

Terrific new s-team leaders have stepped into these large roles and are persevering with to construct and boldly invent. I love and notably commend your management for the previous 11 months: watching the corporate execute throughout COVID has been astonishing – your groups ship Amazon’s finest when the perfect is most wanted.

I wish to thanks all in your friendship, teamwork, and assist. What an incredible 22 years it has been collectively – I’ll cherish it, without end. I’m not retiring and may have information on what’s subsequent for me quickly.

In fact, as we speak, I’m formally giving up “jblack@”. I’ve only one request—that I without end keep “jblack” within the halls of Amazon. It’d be an honor,

-Jeff

It was a fortunate day for us if you acquired assigned to that IPO roadshow. Watching you as that junior funding banker, it was straightforward to see your depraved smarts — totally on show. However who knew you’d be so pushed by a relentless urge to invent and pioneer? From market and promoting to the launch of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, you’ve been a builder. And also you’ve helped all of us in all the pieces — not simply the belongings you immediately led. You will have judgment and your viewpoint is rarely redundant. Whenever you discuss, I discover myself leaning in and listening fastidiously — all the time.

Thanks for greater than 20 years of management. For pushing us all to maintain exploring. For carrying all of these baggage.

Although it’s not fairly able to be shared, jblack has stored me within the loop on his subsequent chapter, and I can guarantee you it’s a really thrilling one! I predict that Jeff shall be each bit as superb in his new position as he’s been in all his roles at Amazon. Simple prediction. Massive congrats to you, Jeff.

Your pal all the time,

Jeff

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