Amazon executives overseeing Alexa, hardware group depart the company

Key Points
  • Amazon has lost two high-profile executives, Tom Taylor and Gregg Zehr, the company confirmed.
  • Both executives spent well over a decade at Amazon.
  • Their departures add to a recent exodus of top talent at the company.

In this article

Amazon Echo Dot speaker
CNBC | Richard Washington

Amazon has lost two high-profile executives who helped oversee the company's hardware efforts.

Gregg Zehr, president of Amazon's hardware research and development group, known as Lab126, has retired, the company confirmed to CNBC. Zehr is credited with inventing the hugely successful Kindle e-reader.

Tom Taylor, senior vice president of Amazon Alexa and a member of CEO Andy Jassy's elite S-Team, is also retiring, Amazon said. Both Taylor and Zehr spent well over a decade at the company.

"We have strong succession plans for all businesses, and both these positions were backfilled with strong internal leaders some time ago," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

Business Insider earlier reported on Zehr and Taylor's departures.

For Jassy, it marks the latest high-profile exits at a time when Amazon is staring down a multitude of challenges, from soaring inflation to slowing sales. Heather MacDougall, Amazon's workplace health and safety chief, departed the company in September. In July, public policy chief Jay Carney left to join Airbnb, and 23-year Amazon veteran Dave Clark resigned as retail chief a month later.

Two prominent Black leaders — operations executive Dave Bozeman and Alicia Boler-Davis, senior vice president of global customer fulfillment — also announced their departures in June.

Amazon said it still maintains high retention rates. The average tenure for vice presidents is about 10 years, and for senior vice presidents it is "much longer," the spokesperson said.

The executive exodus also comes as Jassy has been reining in spending across the company. Amazon has implemented a hiring freeze for corporate retail roles and has discontinued a number of projects in recent months, ranging from its Care telehealth service to its Glow video-calling projector.

WATCH: Amazon freezes corporate hiring in retail business

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Amazon freezes corporate hiring in retail business: The New York Times