Dave Clark, who led the sweeping logistics expansion at online retailer Amazon. com Inc., will become chief executive of Flexport Inc., the digital-focused freight forwarder that has emerged as one of the biggest in a stable of tech-forward shipping startups.
Mr. Clark, who resigned last week as CEO of Amazon’s consumer business, will join Flexport on Sept. 1, the company announced on Wednesday. Ryan Petersen, Flexport’s founder and CEO, said he and Mr. Clark will be co-CEOs for six months and Mr. Petersen will then become executive chairman, focusing on long-term vision and strategy.
Mr. Clark “is a builder and an entrepreneur at heart” who will help lead the fast-growing, San Francisco-based company in a new phase of expansion, Mr. Petersen said.
Flexport, which arranges ocean and airfreight shipments for retailers and manufacturers using technology and a web interface, said Mr. Clark would join the board of directors when he takes his executive position.
Mr. Clark joined Amazon in 1999 and rose through the ranks to become part of founder Jeff Bezos’s top leadership cadre, called the “S-team,” most notably overseeing the dramatic build out of the company’s multibillion-dollar logistics operation that today spans warehouses, planes, delivery vans and ocean forwarding operations.
He was promoted in early 2021 to the top post in Amazon’s world-wide consumer organization, overseeing businesses like Amazon Prime and Whole Foods, and helped manage a hiring spree in that business as online retail demand boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
That expansion has pulled back sharply this year with consumers rushing back into stores and e-commerce sales sagging. Amazon in April reported its first quarterly loss in seven years and said it would pause its aggressive expansion of its logistics network.
Mr. Clark in a statement said he plans to work at Flexport to help “architect and build a technology-powered future enabling the transparent and seamless movement of goods from raw material to end consumers anywhere in the world.”
Founded in 2013, Flexport counted $3.3 billion in revenue last year, up from $2 million in 2014, said Mr. Petersen, who projects $5 billion in revenue this year.
The company is also profitable, he said, and has much of its venture capital still in the bank as it invests about $100 million a year in building technology.
Flexport has been an investor darling, raising $2.3 billion in venture capital as its efforts to bring digital technology tools to shipping have drawn Silicon Valley investors into the freight business. The company most recently raised $935 million in February in a Series E investment round, led by venture-capital giant Andreessen Horowitz and billionaire Michael Dell’s MSD Partners.
The founding round brought its valuation to $8 billion.
Flexport has about 3,500 employees across 23 offices around the world.
—Colin Kellaher contributed to this article
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Appeared in the June 9, 2022, print edition as 'Flexport’s New CEO Worked at Amazon.'