Flexport nabs Amazon’s Dave Clark for CEO role

Amazon Consumer CEO Dave ClarkFounder Ryan Petersen will become Flexport’s executive chairman after a six-month transition.

Amazon Consumer CEO Dave Clark

Dave Clark, the architect of Amazon.com Inc.’s transport and logistics business who announced his resignation last week, said Wednesday he will become CEO of Flexport, the global freight forwarding company, effective Sept. 1.

Ryan Petersen, privately held Flexport’s high-profile founder and CEO, will serve as co-CEO for the first six months, Flexport said. Petersen will then become the company’s executive chairman.

Clark will also join Flexport’s board of directors.

In his Twitter announcement, Clark said that he will focus on building Flexport solutions to address the many well-publicized issues plaguing supply chains over the past two years. U.S. supply chains have “entered everyday national discourse for all the wrong reasons,” Clark wrote, adding that supply chains suffer from “a significant fragmentation of technology and process.”

Clark said that Flexport, by addressing the complex issue of cross-border global goods movement, has gone “where few technology companies have dared to tread because of the vast array of regulatory rules, intimidating geographical distances and siloed network of providers.” 

San Francisco-based Flexport has “built a technology platform that solves … this challenging integration of technology and the physical world by connecting the entire ecosystem of global trade,” Clark wrote.

Clark disclosed last Friday that he would leave Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) July 1 after 23 years of service there. He currently heads Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer unit, which includes the ubiquitous retail platform and the supporting transport and logistics functions. Clark was promoted to the role in 2020. No successor has yet been named. 

In last week’s announcement, Clark gave no specific reason for departing other than to say it was time to try something new.

Clark invented the present-day Amazon transport and logistics network, which has been assembled mostly to provide one- to two-day deliveries of items ordered by subscribers to its Prime service. Amazon today has nearly 96 planes in its fleet. It also has hundreds of tractors and thousands of trailers that integrate with its flying operations. During Clark’s tenure, Amazon opened its long-planned $1.5 billion air cargo hub at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. 

Clark joined Amazon in 2001 after completing his MBA at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Clark was moving up through the operations and fulfillment ranks when in January 2013 he was named senior vice president of worldwide operations, which included what was then a fledgling shipping and logistics business that exclusively outsourced its transportation services.