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Heather MacDougall, Amazon VP answerable for office well being and security, is departing

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Heather MacDougall. (LinkedIn Photo)

Heather MacDougall, Amazon’s vice president of Global Workplace Health and Safety, is departing the company after 3 1/2 years to pursue other opportunities, according to an internal memo to employees that the company shared with GeekWire.

MacDougall joined Amazon in April 2019 and is based in Washington, D.C. She served as chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, an independent federal agency created by Congress to decide contests of citations or penalties that OSHA issues to employers following inspections of American workplaces.

MacDougall’s exit comes at a time when Amazon is under intense pressure related to productivity and safety in its warehouse facilities. Amazon has faced scrutiny over injury rates, and the issue has helped to fuel a union uprising in its fulfillment network.

John Felton, Amazon’s recently appointed senior VP of Worldwide Operations, credited MacDougall with navigating “the complexities and challenges of a global pandemic while creating new workplace health and safety programs that eliminate or mitigate risks across a diverse global workforce.” (Read full email at bottom.)

Felton said MacDougall, whose last day is Oct. 7, built strong partnerships with organizations like the National Safety Council and the American Society of Safety Professionals and that she had helped Amazon make meaningful progress toward its goal of becoming “Earth’s Best Employer.”

Rebecca Gansert, a 24-year Amazon vet who is currently vice president of global specialty fulfillment, has been asked by Felton to lead a broader role to drive the overall experience for warehouse associates. She started at the company herself as a temporary tier one associate.

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Gansert will lead Global Workplace Health and Safety as well as the Learning and Learning & Development teams supporting operations.

“Safety and the overall associate experience are priorities that are intricately linked and Becky is uniquely qualified to move us forward with both,” Felton wrote.

The moves are the latest in a series of departures and shuffling of executive leadership roles at the tech giant:

  • Dave Clark left as CEO of Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer business in a surprise move earlier this summer.
  • Doug Herrington, a veteran of Amazon’s consumer business, was promoted to the new role of CEO of Worldwide Amazon Stores.
  • John Felton was promoted and reports to Herrington.
  • Two senior Black execs departed in June: Alicia Boler-Davis, senior vice president of global customer fulfillment, and Dave Bozeman, vice president of Amazon transportation services.
  • Jay Carney, senior vice president of global corporate affairs, departed for Airbnb.

Read John Felton’s full email about Heather MacDougall below.

I’m writing to share organizational changes on our Workplace Health and Safety team. As you know, Heather MacDougall joined Amazon as our Vice President of Global Workplace Health and Safety in 2019. Since then, Heather has hired strong leaders and helped us make meaningful progress on our goal to be the safest workplace in the world.

Since Heather joined Amazon, we’ve navigated the complexities and challenges of a global pandemic while creating new workplace health and safety programs that eliminate or mitigate risks across a diverse global workforce. In addition, Heather and her team built strong partnerships with organizations like the National Safety Council (NSC) and the American Society of Safety Professionals, which led to Amazon and the NSC creating the first-ever industry pledge to reduce MSDs.

Now, after building with us for over three years as an important member of our leadership team, Heather has decided to pursue other opportunities outside Amazon. I want to thank her for her many contributions, and I wish her well on the next step in her journey.  Heather’s last day in the office will be October 7th.

As we look to the future, thanks to the contributions from Heather and leaders from across our operations, we are making good progress on our safety journey, and there is more to do. To guide this transition, I’ve asked Becky Gansert to lead a broader role driving the overall associate experience forward. In this role, she will lead Global Workplace Health and Safety as well as the Learning and L&D teams supporting Operations led by Dayna Howard.  Becky will also continue supporting the work to create improved flexible workforce solutions for associates. Safety and the overall associate experience are priorities that are intricately linked and Becky is uniquely qualified to move us forward with both. As a long-time Amazonian (who started as a temporary tier one associate herself) with nearly 25 years of experience, Becky has proven to be an incredible builder – she invents, executes, and scales and does all of this with an amazing passion for safety and an obsession for the overall experience of our associates. With this change, Heather’s directs will move to report to Becky and Dayna Howard will join Becky’s new team. 

Please join me in thanking Heather for her many contributions that have advanced our safety programs at Amazon, and congratulating Becky as she steps into this role and helps us continue on our journey to be Earth’s Best Employer.

Thanks,

John

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