Jeff Blackburn, a close lieutenant of Bezos, will leave Amazon

Another of Jeff Bezos’ top lieutenants is leaving Amazon.

Jeff Blackburn, senior vice president of business development and a key member of Bezos’ inner circle, said Tuesday that he will leave the company. The news comes three weeks after Bezos announced that he would step down as CEO and become CEO, leaving Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy to lead the e-commerce giant.

“I want to thank you all for your friendship, teamwork and support,” Blackburn, who had been on a sabbatical, wrote in a memo to employees. “What an amazing 22 years they have been together, I will cherish it forever.”

Hinting at future projects, Blackburn added: “I am not retiring and will have news soon about what is next for me.”

Bezos said Blackburn had kept him “up to date on his next chapter, and I can assure you it’s very exciting!”

Blackburn joined Amazon in 1998 after helping the company go public a year earlier. He became a member of Bezos’ S team, the executive inner circle, in 2006.

Blackburn is the second senior executive to leave Amazon this year; Jeff Wilke, director of Amazon’s consumer business, retired in January.

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