The announcement marks the second high-profile departure in as many days from the tech world. On Wednesday, Sheryl Sandberg – one of the most senior women in American business – announced that she was leaving her post as chief operating officer of Facebook, the company she helped turn into a giant of the Internet. digital advertising.
Amazon warehouse workers suffer serious injuries at higher rates than other companies
Amazon declined to comment beyond the company blog post and Clark’s memo. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Clark’s ascendant career at Amazon mirrored the company’s sprawling growth; he started as chief operating officer, moved on to regional general manager, and eventually oversaw all of the tech giant’s global consumer businesses. When he joined the company, Amazon only had six fulfillment centers. It has since grown into a corporate colossus, making $470 billion in sales last year and is beloved among the elite club of trillion-dollar companies. Its business now spans online shopping, groceries, streaming, gadgets and web services.
But Clark’s tenure, which began in 1999, was also marred by a host of legal, regulatory and labor issues that brought national attention to Amazon, the nation’s second largest private employer.
Union organizing spurts in a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, and in New York City have served as the basis for a resurgent labor movement that ripples through the retail and tech sectors. Amazon workers involved in labor campaigns have advocated for higher wages, expanded benefits and better treatment for staff, including more breaks and less intense monitoring of their daily routines. The company has more than 1,000 warehouses in the United States.
As concerns about working conditions at Amazon grew in frequency, including criticism from lawmakers, Clark was sometimes quick to defend the company. “I often say we’re the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not entirely true because we actually offer a progressive workplace,” Clark said in a tweet that he later deleted.
In June 2021, Clark announced Amazon’s intention to become “Earth’s Greatest Employer,” pledging in a blog post to make Amazon a safer place to work and soften its focus. by the company on productivity measures. The post was an update to an announcement Bezos made two months earlier in a letter to shareholders. But a report later found that Amazon’s worker injury rate in 2021 was more than double that of workers at other warehouses.
Clark led Amazon’s logistics operations throughout the coronavirus pandemic, deploying safety protocols to keep warehouses and deliveries running continuously, but also facing questions about whether the company was reporting accurately. and transparency the number of cases and infection rates. In January 2021, Clark wrote a letter to President Biden offering to help distribute coronavirus vaccines. A month later, the New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Amazon accusing the company of “flagrant disregard for health and safety requirements.”
New York sues Amazon for ‘flagrant disregard’ of sanitary standards in warehouses
In recent years, Amazon has also become a frequent subject of congressional scrutiny. Capitol Hill investigators found Amazon was among a handful of tech giants that engaged in monopoly-style anti-competitive tactics and called for sweeping changes to federal laws to empower regulators, a US investigation finds. Chamber of 2020 which lasted 16 months and resulted in a report of 450 pages.
In his role as Consumer CEO, which he started in January 2021, Clark has overseen a significant portion of Amazon’s business, expanding his logistics and operations responsibilities to include retail and electronics. . In April, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced that Amazon would end its expansion in some of these areas, including closing much of its physical retail footprint, due to a slowdown in growth.