Amazon VP who was previously Uber’s CTO has taken a sudden leave of absence less than 2 years into the job

  • The VP in charge of Amazon’s ecommerce technology services has taken a sudden leave of absence.
  • Sukumar Rathnam was Uber’s CTO previously.
  • Amazon has lost a number of high-profile executives last year.

Sukumar Rathnam, an Amazon VP who was previously Uber’s chief technology officer, is taking an unexpected leave of absence, according to Insider.

Rathnam was most recently Amazon’s VP of eCommerce services, in charge of the retail giant’s backend technology. It was his second stint at Amazon, following nearly a decade in a retail VP role. He served as Uber’s CTO for just over a year, from 2020 to 2021.

According to an internal email obtained by Insider, Amazon’s SVP of e-commerce foundation, Dave Treadwell, informed his team on Friday that Rathnam would be taking a leave of absence “effective immediately.” Ramesh Manne will take over Rathnam’s responsibilities, according to Treadwell.

“Over the last 18 months, we thank Sukumar for his numerous significant contributions to raising the bar for talent while driving structure around eCS programs, goals, and metrics.” Sukumar has produced numerous results for Amazon during his time here. “I am confident that under Ramesh’s leadership, eCS will continue to scale and innovate on behalf of our customers,” Treadwell wrote in an email.

It’s unclear why Rathnam is stepping down or what his plans are for the future. Rathnam left Uber after a disagreement with the company’s product chief, Sundeep Jain, as previously reported by Insider.

Rathnam’s departure adds to Amazon’s growing list of senior executive departures. Some of the company’s most visible executives, including retail CEO Dave Clark and communications chief Jay Carney, left last year. Since Andy Jassy took over as CEO in 2021, dozens more have left. Rathnam did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Amazon’s spokesperson, Brad Glasser, told Insider that the number of VPs and their tenure at the company have both increased since July 2021.

“We continue to have strong retention and continuity among our senior leaders, and any suggestion otherwise would be misleading,” Glasser said.

It also takes place during an unusually difficult return-to-work process for Amazon. Many Amazon employees have publicly and privately expressed their opposition to RTO over the last six months, prompting an internal petition and a public walkout. However, Amazon tightened its RTO policy, requiring employees to relocate closer to their assigned offices or face what Amazon calls a “voluntary resignation.” Employees who do not come into the office at least three times per week may be fired, according to Jassy.

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