Amazon's senior leadership team slowly becoming more diverse





Seattle (tca/dpa) - Amazon last year made seven new additions - including two women - to its senior leadership team, the upper echelon of the company, which meets regularly with CEO Jeff Bezos to set goals and strategy for the Seattle-based tech and commerce giant.

Two longtime executives also left the so-called S Team going into 2020.



Even with the changes, the S Team remains less diverse than Amazon as a whole, though the recent additions reduced that disparity somewhat.
Colleen Aubrey, vice president of performance advertising, and Christine Beauchamp, vice president of Amazon fashion, joined senior vice president of human resources Beth Galetti, who had been the only woman on the S Team.
In 2018, nearly 42 per cent of the company's global workforce identified as women, according to Amazon's most recent disclosures. That workforce, now numbering more than 798,000 full- and part-time employees, includes hundreds of thousands of warehouse workers. In management ranks, nearly 27 per cent identified as women at the end of 2018 - about twice the rate as the S Team.
Nineteen of the 22 S Team members, or 86 per cent, are white. Among the company's US workforce, nearly 39 per cent identified as white, while management ranks were nearly 62 per cent white at the end of 2018. The company said earlier this year it now has more than 500,000 employees in the US.
With the new additions, the group has shifted a bit younger. The average age of S Team members now is 51, down from 53. The average Amazon tenure of the group is nearly 16 years, down from more than 18.
Ivy League universities are heavily represented on the S Team: Five individuals, including Bezos, were undergraduates at Princeton, while Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Dartmouth and other elite institutions such as Stanford, University of California, Berkeley, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can each claim at least one alumni currently on the S Team.
At least 15 members majored as undergraduates in a STEM field - science, technology, engineering or math – and more than half have MBAs or other graduate business degrees, though not everyone focused their studies on business or STEM. General counsel David Zapolsky majored in music. Head of worldwide operations Dave Clark's undergraduate major was education. Corporate affairs chief Jay Carney, the former Obama administration press secretary and journalist, majored in Russian and East European studies.
The lack of diversity among top Amazon executives - and in the technology industry broadly - has been a subject of criticism for years. At a company staff meeting in 2017, Bezos reportedly answered an employee question about S Team diversity by noting that the low turnover of executives in the group meant diversification would happen slowly.
Amazon's 10-person board of directors, meanwhile, added two women of color in 2019, after a 2018 decision to consider diverse candidates for future board openings. The board had previously opposed a shareholder resolution requiring such consideration. The board is evenly split between women and men.

 


Tuesday, February 11th 2020
By Benjamin Romano, The Seattle Times
           


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