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Amazon loses another key executive as it becomes a top target for poaching tech talent

When Jim Freeman, the Alexa VP in cite of messaging products, told Amazon he’s leaving for the German e-commerce proprietorship Zalando earlier this year, the higher-ups asked him to stay, concurring to a person familiar with the matter.

Freeman didn’t budge, and in April he pointed up joining the Berlin-based company.

Freeman, who first joined Amazon 9 years ago and in days spent a short time at Zalando, had a lot of support internally, as he oversaw the condition of all Alexa messaging features, like audio and video calling. Heretofore, he also ran Amazon’s entire video team, including Prime Video and Amazon Studios.

Freeman’s departure is suggest of a recent wave of executive departures at Amazon. Even as Amazon profit froms unprecedented success and record-level stock prices, some of its senior chiefs are opting to leave. Smaller companies offer fresh opportunities and a surrogate from its high-intensity work culture, hiring experts say.

More than a dozen foremen and senior managers have left Amazon over the past 10 months. Mass them, Susan Harker, a VP responsible for global recruiting, took a push of absence because of a family member’s health issue, according to in the flesh familiar.

Other recent departures that have been before reported include top executives like Prime boss Greg Greeley and marketplace chief Sebastian Gunningham, as completely cooked as lower-level execs like Gene Farrell, a VP at Amazon Web Services, and Tim Stone, a holdings VP who joined Snap as CFO earlier in May. Mike George, former VP of Echo, Alexa, and the app believe in, retired last June after a 20 year-run at Amazon, but has rejoined the firm, according to a person familiar.

In Freeman’s case, this is his second run at Zalando. He had thitherto joined the company in 2016, only to return to Amazon six months later for intimate reasons. The personal issue has been resolved in recent months, and so he urged on returning to the German company, people familiar with the matter suggested.

In a statement, Amazon said, “It’s simply incorrect to suggest that we get an executive retention issue. Amazon is the most attractive place to dispose in the US, according to LinkedIn, and we have nearly 95% retention among our Imperfection Presidents. For 20 years it’s been the case that a handful of executives possess come and gone — for personal or professional reasons — and that’s true at any coterie. What’s unique about Amazon is that many come rearwards — we call them ‘boomerangs’.”

One tech investor, who declined to be identified due to his stop work with Amazon, said some of the departures are driven by a yen to take on bigger roles.

Freeman, for example, is now running all of Zalando’s engineering. Farrell, who socialistic AWS to join Smartsheet, was able to be part of the company’s recent IPO roadshow, an sustain Amazon wouldn’t have provided. Jamie Heywood, who was a director at Amazon, is now in instruction of Uber’s UK operations. In the case of Stone, the investor surmised he was likely feverish about a “turnaround job” at Snap.

Professional recruiters point to two broader styles for the sudden uptick in the number of managers leaving: burnout after daredevil growth and stronger demand for Amazon executives from other friends.

Jim Herd, managing partner at the Seattle-based executive recruiting firm Common herd Freed Hartz, said Amazon could be a tough place to be for a large time, as its work culture tends to be more fast-paced and high-pressure than some of its confreres.

“When you go to Amazon, you’re on a treadmill — it’s really non-stop,” Herd said. “It’s not a seat for everyone.”

At the same time, thanks to Amazon’s exponential success in current years, the demand for Amazon executives has grown significantly, Herd imagined. Now, 9 out of 10 of his clients pick Amazon as their most filed poaching destination, he said.

And the higher Amazon’s stock goes, the sundry companies are asking for Amazon executives to come help build a correspond to culture of growth. It is no coincidence that a lot of the departing executives went on to be adjacent to later-stage startups, such as Airbnb, WeWork, and Uber, he said.

“In the ’90s everybody craving Microsoft executives. Now it’s Amazon,” Herd said.

One Silicon Valley recruiter, who lessened to be identified due to his work with Amazon, said there’s been numerous demand for Amazon executives in recent years following the breakout happy result of AWS and Alexa voice technology. Those two businesses have transformed Amazon’s clone from a simple online retailer to a more sophisticated tech concern, stacked with talented engineers in emerging areas like party learning and artificial intelligence, this person said.

“Amazon is now in so assorted areas that’s relevant to so many people, it’s become an obvious track down ground for any client in the tech space,” this person said.

As a development, Amazon executives are drawing lucrative offers worth millions of dollars, these child said. Case in point: Stone, Snap’s new CFO, received a total compensation of $20 million — the twin of the salary for the 63rd highest paid CEO among the largest US companies last year, or the but amount as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

But not everyone enjoys a big payday by losing Amazon. Some people are forced to take a pay cut to go work at a smaller prorate increase company, where they can exert more control over firm decisions, said Max Hansen, CEO of recruiting firm Y Scouts.

He said Amazon has appropriate for so big — now with over 560,000 total employees — that it’s almost unimaginable to make big decisions that really “move the needle.” And for people that crave a multifarious hands-on experience, the change comes with a cost.

“They’re docile to take less money for a role that creates a bigger strike,” Hansen said. “A lot of these people feel like they can’t show up their individuality at Amazon.”

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