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08/17/2021

Amazon Grocery Exec Steps Down

Wei Gao leaves online behemoth after 16 years
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Amazon Grocery Exec Steps Down
Wei Gao (photo credit: LinkedIn)

One of Amazon’s top grocery executives is parting ways with the company. Wei Gao, who most recently served as VP of grocery tech, product and supply chain for the retail tech giant, was also deemed a “shadow” advisor to founder Jeff Bezos.   

The news about Gao comes on the heels of the departure of Steve Kessel, who headed up Amazon’s brick-and-mortar stores and oversaw the acquisition of Whole Foods. Bezos resigned as CEO last month, moving to a role as executive chairman of the board of directors.

Gao spearheaded tech efforts during a key time for Amazon’s grocery business, which flourished during the stay-at-home periods of the pandemic. Under her leadership, Amazon deployed a variety of technologies to make grocery shopping faster and easier for consumers, including technologies for home delivery and for shopping at Amazon Fresh stores. Among other features, Amazon Fresh stores offer an Amazon Dash cart, pre-ordering capability via the Amazon app and Alexa devices installed at various points. Gao also worked with tech experts at Amazon to develop machine learning and create better forecasting models to enhance the shopping experience.

Her last day is Sept. 17, according to the company. A replacement for Gao’s role has not yet been named.

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods is No. 26 on PG's list.

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