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Flexport nabs Amazon’s Dave Clark for CEO role

Executive who built Amazon’s transport and logistics network announced resignation last week

Dave Clark announced that he was leaving Amazon last week. (Photo: Amazon)

Dave Clark, the architect of 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 he wanted to help build the fortunes of another organization. In Flexport, Clark believes he has found that company.

“This gives (Clark) a chance to build again,” said David Glick, who worked with Clark for years at Amazon and is today chief technology officer at Flexe, an on-demand warehousing provider.” Despite its success and growing prominence, Flexport “still has a huge runway” of potential ahead of it, according to Glick.

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. 

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.