Jeff Blackburn is retiring.
The head of Amazon’ after more than 20 years with the retail giant and streaming platform, its global entertainment group will exit the company in January. The moves were announced Friday via an internal memo from Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and Blackburn himself.
The news comes a year and a half after Blackburn returned from a year-long sabbatical to take on a new role as head of the company’s Global Entertainment Group, which includes a focus on music, audio entertainment, gaming and Company video.
After a busy week at Amazon, Blackburn has decided to retire. The e-commerce giant this week fully integrated MGM into its executive ranks after buying the storied studio for $8.5 billion in May. Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke oversees MGM’s film and TV division, while SVP Mike Hopkins lands on premium cable network Epix and impromptu content (via MGM’s Chris Brearton). With Blackburn out, Hopkins will report directly to Jassy. Salke, who won MGM Films executive production, reports to Hopkins.
Prior to the vacation, Blackburn had been an important intermediary between Amazon HQ, Amazon Studios and head Jennifer Salke, as Amazon Prime battled Netflix in an increasingly competitive streaming space. Compete with new Hollywood studios.
With Blackburn retiring, Jassy said Hopkins will continue to lead Prime Video, Amazon Studios and MGM and will report directly to the CEO. Steve Boom will now add Audible, Twitch, and gaming on top of Amazon’s Music and Podcasts teams, reporting to Jassy.
Here is the memo from Jassy and Blackburn:
I want to share Jeff Blackburn’s decision to retire from Amazon news.
Jeff, after helping guide the company through its initial public offering at Deutsche Bank, 1997 Join Amazon. Over two years, he did a lot of building work, including helping build our 3P marketplace, advertising, Amazon Studios/Prime Video and music businesses, and leading our A9/Search and CorpDev & BusDev organizations.
As you know, Jeff returned to Amazon last May to lead our Media and entertainment business (Prime Video and Amazon Studios, Music, Podcasts/Wondery, Audible, Gaming and Twitch). Over the past year and a half, he has helped us achieve continued success in media and entertainment. To name a few successes, in its first season, Rings of Power broke all previous Prime Video viewing records and attracted more Prime sign-ups worldwide than any other previous content during its release window ;Compared to TNF’s linear TV results last year, Prime’s Thursday Night Football season 1 drove higher ratings across the board, including the important 18- 25 Ages whose ratings increased by 18% compared to the previous season Population; We recently completed and integrated the acquisition of MGM. Amazon wouldn’t be the same company without Jeff, and I want to thank him for his many contributions to the company’s current and future success.
We will be using this time to make some leadership changes. Mike Hopkins, who led Prime Video, Amazon Studios, and MGM, will continue to lead these teams and report directly to me. Steve Boom, who has been leading our music and podcast teams, will now also oversee our Audible, Twitch, and gaming businesses – and report to me. Both Mike and Steve are excellent, experienced leaders, and I look forward to working with them (and their team) many more times.
This transition will take effect on January 1st, but Jeff will stay On Amazon2023 to help ensure a smooth transition. 2023
Feel free to share the news with your team.
Team, some news today:
I am planning to retire from Amazon in January after 25 years and working closely with the company as it 20 initial public offering. The past months have been exciting – working with everyone at GME and launching our historic Biggest, boldest project ever. But I decided to spend 2023 differently, give my family more time, and feel strongly that it was the right decision for me. Andy and I have been working on a transition plan, and he will share the details soon, so stay tuned.
Amazon’s opportunity in media, entertainment and sports has never been greater. I see exciting times ahead for all of you. Please know that I will always remain close…as a fan, mentor, and ambassador for Amazon’s creative business. I am so grateful for all the close friendships over the 25 years and all the teams, studios, streaming services and businesses we have been able to build together.
Thank you, amazing Amazonians. –jblack2023 2023