Bob Smith, the current CEO of Blue Origin, a U.S.-based aerospace company created by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is stepping down from his position with the company by the end of the year.
In a memo obtained and published by The Washington Post Monday, Smith said that he’ll step down from his position by Dec. 4, noting that he’ll remain with the company until Jan. 2, 2024, as part of the transition period.
Smith, who previously served as an executive at Honeywell Aerospace, alluded to the success of the company during his tenure as CEO, saying “our team, facilities, sales orders have grown dramatically, and we’ve made significant contributions to the history of spaceflight.”
Smith also wrote in his letter that he and Bezos have been discussing his planned departure for months, according to Bloomberg News.
The company later announced that Dave Limp, who currently serves as senior executive at Amazon, will replace Smith.
“Dave is a proven innovator with a customer-first mindset. He has extensive experience in the high-tech industry and growing highly complex organizations, including leading Amazon’s Kuiper, Kindle, Alexa, Zoox, Fire TV, and many other businesses,” a Blue Origin spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill.
“In his six years, Bob led Blue Origin’s transformation from an R&D-focused company into a multi-faceted space business nearing $10 billion in customer orders and over 10,000 employees. Dave will join in December, and Bob will be here through January 2 to ensure a smooth transition.”
Smith’s tenure as CEO of the Bezos-funded space venture also was marked with tension and controversy, with multiple staffers sharing complaints to executives about a toxic work environment, according to the Post.
A letter from an employee to Bezos and other leaders and obtained by the newspaper said that the problems during Smith’s tenure were “systemic,” adding that employees losing trust in higher management was “common” at the aerospace company.
“Our current culture is toxic to our success and many can see it spreading throughout the company,” according to the letter.
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