Amazon Grocery Exec Wei Gao, Once an Advisor to Bezos, Departs the Company

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  • Wei Gao, Amazon's vice president of grocery tech, product and supply chain, is leaving the company.
  • Gao held a number of roles throughout her 16-year tenure at Amazon and served as Jeff Bezos' "shadow" adviser for a period of time.

Amazon confirmed on Monday that Wei Gao, a top grocery executive, is leaving the company.

Gao most recently served as vice president of grocery tech, product and supply chain. She held a number of roles throughout her 16-year tenure at Amazon, including senior positions on the company's Kindle and inventory planning teams before becoming a vice president of forecasting.

Gao also held the highly coveted role of "shadow" adviser to Amazon executive chairman Jeff Bezos while he was CEO from July 2018 to January 2020, according to her LinkedIn profile. Shadows typically go on to esteemed roles within the company. Gao was one of only two female executives to be appointed Bezos' shadow.

Her last day at Amazon is Sept. 17, the company confirmed. An Amazon spokesperson didn't say where Gao is going.

Gao's departure, which was first reported by Insider, adds to recent turnover among Amazon's leadership ranks. Last week, Amazon confirmed that Charlie Bell, a top executive in its cloud business, is leaving the company. Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon's worldwide consumer business, stepped down earlier this year. Wilke was considered a candidate to replace Bezos, who in July handed the role of CEO to cloud boss Andy Jassy.

Other high-profile female executives have recently departed Amazon. Last March, Maria Renz, who served as Bezos' first female shadow adviser before becoming vice president of delivery experience, left to join online finance company SoFi. In April, monitoring and security software company Splunk said it hired Teresa Carlson as president and chief growth officer.

Gao's departure comes as Amazon has faced criticism for its largely white, male upper ranks. Last August, Alicia Boler Davis, vice president of global customer fulfillment, was appointed to the "S-team," a highly influential group of executives that report to new CEO Jassy. Boler Davis is the first Black woman to serve on the S-team.

There are three other women on the S-Team in addition to Boler Davis: Beth Galetti, vice president of human resources; Colleen Aubrey, vice president of performance advertising; and Christine Beauchamp, vice president of Amazon fashion.

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