Amazon’s physical retail and fast delivery businesses are now under a single leader, company veteran Steve Kessel, according to Thursday reports from the Wall Street Journal.
Kessel is a former lieutenant of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who now finds himself responsible for Prime Now, AmazonFresh, Whole Foods Market and Amazon’s brick-and-mortar book and convenience stores.
It’s a big job, but someone has to do it — particularly given that Amazon’s goal is to make changes across all three platforms go as smoothly as possible. It is also looking to ease customers into a new way of viewing and shopping with Amazon.
Prior to this position, Kessel oversaw Amazon’s books and music, and led the team that created the Kindle eReader and the Kindle Fire tablet, the WSJ reported. After that, the executive took a sabbatical. He returned to Amazon two years ago to aid in designing Amazon’s physical retail experience.
Kessel was later placed in charge of Whole Foods Market, under retail chief Jeff Wilke, when the much-touted acquisition deal was finalized in August. Prime Now and Prime Fresh are additions of the last few weeks, according to internal sources.
“I think, over time, you’ll see more cooperation and more working together between AmazonFresh, Prime Now and Whole Foods as we explore different ways to serve the customer,” said Amazon chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky during a quarterly earnings call late last month.
Kessel will also be leading Amazon Go, a cashierless convenience store still in beta testing that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to track customers as they grab goods and automatically check out. The store was slated to open to the public earlier this year, but Amazon was forced to push back the reveal as there have been issues getting the automation technology to work as advertised.