The announcement marks the second high-profile departure in as many days in the technology world. On Wednesday, Sheryl Sandberg – one of the highest ranked women in corporate America – announced her resignation as CEO of Facebook, the company she helped transform into a digital advertising giant.
Amazon warehouse workers suffer serious damage at higher prices than other companies
Amazon declined to comment beyond the company’s blog and Clark’s note. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Clark’s rising career at Amazon reflected the company’s great growth; he started as operations manager, then moved up to a regional day-to-day management position, and eventually oversaw the entire technology giant’s worldwide consumer business. When he joined the company, Amazon had only six fulfillment centers. It has since swelled to a corporate colossus, raising $ 470 billion in sales last year and is valued among the elite club of trillion-dollar companies. The business now includes online shopping, groceries, streaming, gadgets and online services.
But Clark’s tenure, which began in 1999, has also been marked by a number of legal, regulatory and working conditions that have drawn the national spotlight on Amazon, the country’s second largest private employer.
Trade unions in a warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., And in New York have served as the basis for a resurgent labor movement that resonates in the retail and technology sectors. Amazon workers involved in the unions have called for higher wages, expanded benefits and better treatment for employees – including more breaks and less intense monitoring of their daily habits. The company has more than 1,000 American department stores.
As concerns about working conditions at Amazon increased in frequency, including criticism from lawmakers, Clark was sometimes quick to defend the company. “I often say we’re Bernie Sanders by employers, but that’s not entirely true because we’re actually delivering a progressive job,” Clark said in a tweet he later deleted.
In June 2021, Clark announced Amazon’s intentions to become “Earth’s Best Employer”, and promised in a blog post to make Amazon a safer place to work and to soften the company’s emphasis on productivity metrics. The post was an update of an announcement from Bezos two months earlier in a shareholder letter. But a report later found that the injury rate for workers at Amazon in 2021 was more than twice as high as for workers in other department stores.
Clark has led Amazon’s logistics operation through the coronavirus pandemic, and has rolled out security protocols to keep warehouses and deliveries in continuous operation, but has also faced questions about the company accurately and transparently reporting the number of cases and infection rates. In January 2021, Clark wrote a letter to President Biden offering to help distribute coronavirus vaccines. One month later, the New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Amazon, accusing the company of “illegally ignoring health and safety requirements.”
New York is suing Amazon for “flagrant disregard” of department store health standards
In recent years, Amazon has also become a frequent subject of congressional scrutiny. Investigators at Capitol Hill found that Amazon was among a handful of technology giants engaging in anti-monopoly-style tactics and calling for sweeping changes to federal laws to strengthen regulators, according to a 2020 House study that spanned 16 months and culminated in a report of 450 pages.
In his role as Consumer Manager, which he started in January 2021, Clark oversaw a significant portion of Amazon’s business, expanding its logistics and operations responsibilities to include retail and electronics. In April, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced that Amazon would withdraw from expansion in some of these arenas, including closing large parts of the retail footprint in bricks and mortar due to slower growth.