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Amazon Taps In-House Grocery Chief to Run Retail Business


(Bloomberg)—Amazon.com Inc. tapped Doug Herrington to run the company’s sprawling retail and logistics operation, giving him the new title chief executive officer of Worldwide Stores and signaling the importance of a continued push into groceries under company CEO Andy Jassy.

Herrington, 55, joined Amazon in 2005 and launched the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service in 2007. He replaces Dave Clark, a 23-year veteran who helped create a warehouse network and in-house delivery service that speeds packages to customers in two days or less. Herrington’s new role encompasses everything from Amazon’s last-mile delivery operation to its retail websites and physical stores. Amazon also said John Felton, who has been with the company for 18 years, will oversee the operations division and report to Herrington.

“This is a very strong and experienced leadership team,” Jassy said in a statement Tuesday. “I remain very optimistic about our Stores business, and believe we’re still in the early days of what’s possible.”

Herrington, who lives near Jassy in Amazon’s hometown Seattle, is ascending at a challenging moment. Online sales growth has slowed now that consumers are returning to their pre-pandemic spending habits, leaving Amazon with too much warehouse space. One of his first tasks will be to shrink the operation to current demand without impairing the company’s ability to ramp up when online sales growth resumes.

He will also have to navigate continuing labor unrest at Amazon warehouses. An upstart union earlier this year won the right to represent workers at a fulfillment center in New York, a result Amazon is challenging. The company is also under pressure from politicians for its fast pace of work and injury rates that are higher than some rivals in warehousing.

Before Amazon, Herrington worked for Webvan, a grocery delivery service that went bust during the dot-com era. He became leader of Amazon’s North American consumer business in 2015, which encompasses both online and physical stores. In recent years, Amazon has started a cashierless chain of convenience stores, acquired Whole Foods Market and launched Amazon Fresh supermarkets.

Felton, 45, led Amazon’s delivery services group, overseeing a massive expansion of warehouses. He rose through the ranks of Amazon’s finance teams, serving for several years as chief financial officer of Clark’s worldwide operations unit. Felton also briefly ran the company’s investor relations team.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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