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Former Amazon Boss Jumps Ship for Flexport

Digital freight forwarder Flexport raised nearly $1 billion this year in its quest to make global trade easier. Now, it’s set to bring on a high-profile Amazon executive as CEO.

Flexport founder and current CEO Ryan Petersen said Wednesday the company hired Amazon Consumer Worldwide CEO Dave Clark to lead the company. Clark starts Sept. 1 and will serve as co-CEO of Flexport with Petersen during a six-month transition period after which Petersen will become executive chair.

The announcement follows Amazon’s disclosure last week that Clark would be departing the company July 1 after 23 years. A successor for Clark has not yet been named.

Flexport is now set to gain an executive with a heavy background building out the logistics and transportation network that has made Amazon a rival to heritage parcel carriers such as UPS and FedEx.

“Flexport is on its way to becoming one of the world’s most important technology platforms for supply chain and logistics,” Petersen said in a Twitter post announcing the news. “Given the scale of the opportunity ahead of us, Flexport doesn’t need another executive. We need another entrepreneur. And we couldn’t have found a more qualified and entrepreneurial leader than Dave. He will be my partner for the next and most exciting phase of Flexport’s journey.”

Flexport launched in 2013 with its cloud-based software platform that enabled companies to manage their global shipments across all transportation modes, while also gaining greater visibility into customs, freight rates and carbon emissions.

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The business has since raised in excess of $2.3 billion and generated $3.3 billion in revenue last year. Flexport is tracking to do nearly $5 billion this year and is profitable. The company ranks among the top 10 of the world’s largest unicorns with a valuation of about $8.6 billion, according to research firm CB Insights.

The company is also active as an investor in a number of other supply chain-related startups through its corporate venture arm, Flexport Ventures.

Petersen said Clark’s leadership will help Flexport realize its full potential with more products and services among other things.

“My partnership with [Clark] means that we now have the full skillset and experience necessary to achieve this mission and we are committed to working together to make Flexport the best supply chain company in the world,” Petersen said.

Clark pointed out in a LinkedIn post Wednesday discussing his appointment that processes and technology fragmentation are at the center of supply chain challenges.

“Flexport founder Ryan Petersen and his team have thrown themselves at this problem by brilliantly tackling the most complicated piece of the supply chain: the global cross-border movement of goods,” Clark said. “It is an area where few technology companies have dared to tread because of the vast array of regulatory rules, intimidating geographical distances and siloed network of providers. Flexport has not flinched.”

Clark went on to say “the true potential and magnitude of Flexport’s innovations have only just started to be realized.”