- Amazon alumni are now leading other retail supply chains, from traditional retailers to startups.
- Two executives on this list have founded logistics startups with a combined $13 million in funding.
- Former Amazon Logistics execs now manage supply chains for Chewy, Nordstrom, Walmart, and Target.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Yes, Amazon makes e-commerce packages, server farms, television shows, and more. But its key product, said David Glick, who spent two decades with the company, is executives, including those who are masters at moving goods from A to B.
Just as Amazon Web Services has created a generation of tech CEOs, Amazon Logistics has created a diaspora of logistics luminaries.
Amazon trains logistics executives to have a very specific lens. The company’s famed supply chain isn’t built to be as lean as possible in order to maximize profits. Its massive logistics investments, $44 billion last year alone, paired with unparalleled expertise, are intended to exceed expectations, set the standard for e-commerce, and blow the competition out of the water by delivering millions of items a day – in some cases at unprecedented speed.
Former Amazonian Jack Cox told Insider that running fulfillment at the scale and speed of Amazon comes from taking a “systems thinking” approach with every link in every process connected.
“That’s one of the biggest challenges I’ve seen post-Amazon,” Cox said. “It’s not how a lot of companies think or are structured.”
Add that unique worldview to the crop of Amazon-adjacent startups and funders in Seattle, and there’s a recipe for more movement out of Amazon and into entrepreneurship or top startups too.
These 14 former Amazon logistics executives have taken their talents elsewhere to spread some of the wisdom gained contributing to one of the most envied and feared e-commerce logistics operations in the world.
Scott Ruffin, Founder and CEO of Pandion
Last job at Amazon: Head of Amazon Air
Ruffin spent nearly five years at Amazon, where his crowning achievement was founding Amazon Air. After leaving Amazon in 2020, Ruffin spent a year and a half as vice president and head of e-commerce transportation at Walmart, before opting for the entrepreneurial path.
Ruffin announced a $4.9 million seed round for his startup Pandion in February. Pandion aims to democratize sortation, a crucial process within parcel logistics. Sorting large volumes of e-commerce packages into routes for various carriers gives Amazon more flexibility than most retailers and enables it to work with smaller carriers. Pandion is building sortation centers around the US to give smaller retailers the same flexibility.
Jason Murray, Cofounder and CEO of Shipium
Last job at Amazon: Vice President, Retail Systems and Services
During his 18 years at Amazon, Murray managed activities from inventory planning and forecasting to the software behind Amazon’s core retail functions. Forecasting and planning how much inventory is needed and where is a core skill that enabled the transition of Prime shipping from two days to one starting in 2019. At his startup Shipium, Murray is attempting to put that kind of planning power in the hands of other retailers. Shipium software aims to give any mature retailer the ability to turn its own network of stores and warehouses into a fulfillment network almost as effective as Amazon’s. The startup raised an $8 million second seed round last month.
Alexis Depree, Chief Supply Chain Officer for Nordstrom
Last job at Amazon: Vice President, Amazon Transportation Services, Americas Sort Centers
Depree spent three and a half years at Amazon working on the company’s mammoth fulfillment network before joining Nordstrom as an executive vice president in 2020. She was promoted to chief supply chain officer in January. Nordstrom’s sales are rapidly shifting from in-store to online – 54% are now online as of January, President Pete Nordstrom said in a statement. This shift elevated Depree’s work to keep fulfillment speed competitive. Before Amazon, she spent nine years at Target working on the retailer’s distribution.
Arthur Valdez Jr., Chief Supply Chain and Logistics Officer
Last job at Amazon: Vice President Operations International Expansion
Valdez Jr. spent 17 years at Amazon after joining the Seattle company in 1999 and helping to build some of the most critical elements of its retail supply chain. Target COO John Mulligan brought Valdez Jr. to Target in 2016 to shepherd a similar transformation.
“Target’s growth hinges on our ability to enhance the fundamental aspects of our business, starting with the supply chain,” Mulligan said in Valdez Jr.’s hiring announcement. Under Valdez Jr.’s leadership, Target has become a market leader in same-day fulfillment services and made early moves toward an e-commerce supply chain that resembles Amazon’s.
Eric Ferguson, COO Grubhub
Last job at Amazon: Director of Product Management for Amazon Logistics
Ferguson spent nearly 13 years at Amazon in software development, transportation, and logistics, rising to the director level. He left in 2016 to head up inventory management and supply chain for the Sears Holding Company before joining food delivery giant GrubHub in 2019. Ferguson was elevated from senior vice president of logistics to COO in 2020.
Mike Gilbert, Vice President of Operations at Chewy
Last job at Amazon: Director, Operations
Mike Gilbert worked for Amazon for nearly eight years, leading operations in the e-commerce warehouse hub of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, and managing 10 fulfillment centers across four East Coast states. He left Amazon in 2016 to take a role as senior director of fulfillment center launches at Chewy, and was promoted to vice president in 2017.
Gilbert has been leading Chewy’s transition to automation in its fulfillment centers. The company opened its first automated fulfillment center in 2020 and has plans to open two more this year, alongside retrofitting efforts for existing facilities come 2022. Before joining Amazon in 2008, Gilbert served as a battalion logistics officer in the United State Marine Corps.
Jare’ Buckley-Cox, Vice President of Walmart Fulfillment Services
Last job at Amazon: Director, Amazon Logistics Shipping & Delivery Support
Buckely-Cox spent eight years at Amazon, working mainly on the customer side of the delivery experience. In 2018 she left Amazon for Walmart, where she now leads efforts to develop Walmart Fulfillment Services, which are intended to offer order picking, packing, and shipping for Walmart’s third-party marketplace sellers. Walmart launched fulfillment services in February 2020 in a response to Amazon’s robust Fulfillment by Amazon program. Before joining Amazon, Buckley-Cox ran data strategy for Yahoo!.
Michael Indresano, Chief Logistics Officer for Advatix
Last job at Amazon: Vice President, Logistics
Before joining Amazon in 2012, Indresano spent 12 years at FedEx managing both facilities and company-wide shipping services. He spent five years at Amazon in transportation and logistics roles at the director and vice president level, where he had a hand in founding Amazon’s delivery service partner program. After a brief stint at Rent the Runway in 2020, Indresano joined supply chain consultancy Advatix in December, where he’s leading the firm’s European expansion, according to a press release.
Sam Daoud, Chief Product Officer at Flowspace
Last job at Amazon: Director of Product Management
Daoud was chief technology officer of Souq.com, an online marketplace targeting the Middle East based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates when Amazon acquired it in 2017. Daoud stayed on to lead the integration. He left Amazon to take the role of Chief Product Officer for Flowspace in June. The 4-year-old logistics startup allows shippers to find available storage space and fulfillment capacity in warehouses all over the US and orchestrate their orders through one software platform. The Los Angeles-based startup has raised more than $45 million to date.
James Chen, Chief Technology Officer for Flexport
Last job at Amazon: Director of Technology Amazon Shipping
Chen spent three and a half years at Amazon as a leader in the company’s global logistics operation before joining Flexport in 2019. One of the best-funded logistics startups operating today, Flexport uses technology to manage the global movement of freight while offering a unique level of visibility and traceability for traditionally opaque supply chains. Chen oversees the technology behind Flexport’s global trade platform. Before Amazon, Chen spent six years at e-commerce innovator Rakuten after the company acquired the startup where he was CTO.
David Glick, Chief Technology Officer at Flexe
Last job at Amazon: Vice President of Tickets
Glick’s 20-year tenure at Amazon exemplifies the company’s habit of shuffling executives around to give them more diverse viewpoints. Though he spent his last year with the company working on Amazon’s efforts to sell event tickets, Glick spent the previous 18 years working on its retail supply chain. He maintained core software needed to manage the retail business, developed automated pricing technology, and led fulfillment operations and technology all over the world.
Glick took on the job of Chief Technology Officer for warehousing tech startup Flexe, in 2019. Founded in 2013, Flexe is a technology platform that connects disparate warehouses with empty space and fulfillment capacity so that shippers can create a multi-warehouse network with less notice and investment than leasing multiple facilities requires. The Seattle-based startup has raised $144 million to date.
Charles Griffith, Chief Technology Officer for MileZero
Last job at Amazon: Technology Vice President, Transportation
Griffith joined Amazon directly out of college and spent eight years at Amazon helping to build the technology that still orchestrates the company’s global delivery operations today. At one point, he managed 100 engineers in the US, India, China, and Canada. He left Amazon in 2014 to join MileZero, a software company that helps other retailers orchestrate consumer deliveries. MileZero was acquired by Capstone Logistics in 2019.
Jack Cox, Vice President of Global Fulfillment and Logistics, Farmers Business Network
Last job at Amazon: Senior Manager, Amazon Transportation Services Technology
Cox climbed the ranks in Seattle for six years before leaving Amazon in 2016 to handle middle mile logistics at Wayfair, followed by outbound transportation at Target. In August of 2020, he joined agriculture technology startup Farmers Business Network. The 7-year-old startup set out to democratize the sale of basic agricultural materials, a field dominated by giants like Bayer and Syngenta. Thet startup has raised more than $550 million and has a $1.75 billion valuation, according to Bloomberg.
Mike Bundy, Senior Director of Engineering at Convoy
Last job at Amazon: Director of Recipient Experience
In 2019, Bundy left the massive retail supply chain he helped build for one of the best-funded logistics startups in the US. Convoy is a tech-enabled trucking startup with $668 million in funding and a $2.75 billion valuation. The pandemic helped supercharge Convoy and its competitors as the trucking market tightened to historic levels and many supply chain managers had to work remotely, boosting digital solutions. Bundy leads engineering for the startup.
Over his 22 years at Amazon, Bundy moved departments every few years, but spent most of his time managing different aspects of the company’s fulfillment technology.