Amazon has appointed its first Black executive to join the company’s senior leadership team.
Alicia Boler Davis, who joined Amazon () in 2019, serves as the company’s vice president of global customer fulfillment. The appointment makes her the fourth female and first Black woman to join the esteemed senior leadership group, better known as Amazon’s “S-team.”
Davis, a former GM () executive, held numerous roles during her 24-year stint with the automotive company — including head of global manufacturing and labor relations. Along with Davis, two other Amazon executives will join the senior leadership team: vice president of the eCommerce Foundation David Treadwell and John Felton, who serves as vice president of global delivery services.
The addition came with Friday’s announcement that Jeff Wlike, chief executive officer of Amazon Worldwide Consumer will be retiring in the first quarter of 2021. Wilke had been widely viewed as a possible successor to Bezos.
Wilke, who joined Amazon in 1999, will be replaced by Dave Clark, who is senior vice president of worldwide operations.
Lack of diversity in top ranks
Like many other tech conglomerates, Amazon has been criticized for its lack of diversity and gender disparities in its upper-level roles. Many executive positions at Amazon are held by white males.
Davis’s appointment moves the e-commerce giant toward a bit more diversity at the top. In December, Amazon added Christine Beauchamp, head of Amazon Fashion, and Colleen Aubrey, Amazon’s vice president of advertising, to its senior leadership team. Prior to their appointments, Beth Galetti, senior vice president of human resources, was the only woman on the S-team.
During 2018,in efforts to increase diversity in top-ranking positions, Amazon adopted the “Rooney Rule” for its board — a policy instituted by the NFL that requires teams to consider minority candidates for coaching and operation-level positions. Amazon also named Rosalind Brewer, Starbucks’ ( ) chief operating officer, and Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo ( ), to its board of directors in 2019.
Brewer’s appointment made her the second Black director to serve on the board of directors, following Myrtle Potter, former president and COO of Genentech, who served between 2004 and 2009. As of 2019, Amazon’s company workforce consists of 57% men and nearly 43% women. However, among managers, men account for nearly 73% compared to 28% women. And for those in management positions, 8.3% are Black, while nearly 60% are White, according to company data.
But in terms of diverse leadership shakeups at the top, Amazon isn’t alone. As Corporate America continues its reckoning with racism, companies like Pinterest (Girl Scouts and the NFL have also recently appointed Black executives in top leadership positions.), Netflix ( ),