Dave Limp will lead Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin after 'retiring' from Amazon

Current spacelift CEO Bob Smith plans to leave his role at the end of the year.


Reports of David Limp's retirement have been greatly exaggerated. The former SVP of Devices and Services announced last week at Amazon's 2023 Devices Event that he would be stepping down from the role he had held for more than a decade. By Monday, however, Limp had reportedly been tapped by Jeff Bezos to take over for current Blue Origin CEO, Bob Smith, who is retiring at the start of December.

MSNBC reports that Smith will stick around until January 2, 2024 to assist with the transition. Bezos sent the following announcement to the Blue Origin's workforce on Monday:

I’m excited to share that Dave Limp will join Blue starting December 4th as CEO, replacing Bob, who has elected to step aside on January 2. The overlap is purposeful to ensure a smooth transition.

Before I provide some background on Dave, I’d like to take the time to recognize Bob and the significant growth and transformation we’ve experienced during his tenure. Under Bob’s leadership, Blue has grown to several billion dollars in sales orders, with a substantial backlog for our vehicles and engines. Our team has increased from 850 people when Bob joined to more than 10,000 today. We’ve expanded from one office in Kent to building a launch pad at LC-36 and five million square feet of facilities across seven states.

Our mission has grown too – we’ve flown 31 people above the Kármán Line, almost five percent of all the people who have been to space. Flight-qualified BE-4 engines are ready to boost Vulcan into orbit. New Glenn is nearing launch next year, and, with our recent NASA contract, we will land Americans back on the Moon, this time to stay. We have also engaged and inspired millions of children and educators through our Club for the Future efforts. We’ve made tremendous progress in building a road to space for the benefit of Earth, thanks to each of you and Bob’s leadership.

I’ve worked closely with Dave for many years. He is the right leader at the right time for Blue. Dave joins us after almost 14 years at Amazon, where he most recently served as senior vice president of Amazon Devices and Services, leading Kuiper, Kindle, Alexa, Zoox, and many other businesses. Before Amazon, Dave had roles at other high-tech companies, including Palm and Apple. Dave is a proven innovator with a customer-first mindset and extensive experience leading and scaling large, complex organizations. Dave has an outstanding sense of urgency, brings energy to everything, and helps teams move very fast.

Please join me in welcoming Dave and thanking Bob. Through this transition, I know we’ll remain focused on our customer commitments, production schedules, and executing with speed and operational excellence. I look forward to the many exciting and historic milestones ahead of us!


MSNBC obtained Limp's welcome as well:

Team Blue,

It’s been about six years since I joined Blue Origin. During that time, our team, facilities, and sales orders have grown dramatically, and we’ve made significant contributions to the history of spaceflight.

With pride and satisfaction in all that we’ve accomplished, I’m announcing that effective December 4, I will be stepping aside as Chief Executive Officer of Blue Origin. I will remain with Blue until January 2 to ensure a smooth transition with the new CEO.

It has been my privilege to be part of this great team, and I am confident that Blue Origin’s greatest achievements are still ahead of us. We’ve rapidly scaled this company from its prototyping and research roots to a large, prominent space business. We have the right strategy. a supremely talented team, a robust customer base, and some of the most technically ambitious and exciting projects in the entire industry. We also have a team that cares deeply about its mission, legacy, and how we contribute to the next generation and bring everyone into a brighter future.

Jeff and I have been discussing my plan for months, and Jeff will announce Blue’s new CEO in a separate note shortly. I’m very excited about the operational excellence and culture of innovation this new leader will bring to Blue. building on the foundation we’ve created over the past few years.

I’m committed to ensuring this transition is flawless, and everyone should know that Ill always be on Team Blue.

Gradatim Ferociter.

Bob Smith

Amazon has not officially named its successor for Limp, though Microsoft's product chief, Panos Panay — who also just so happened to leave the role he held for two decades last week — has been rumored as a leading choice for that position.

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