Amazon’s air cargo head will now oversee workplace-safety unit
Amazon Air’s Sarah Rhoads Shifts Roles to Oversee its Workplace Health and Safety Division
Sarah Rhoads, the woman behind Amazon’s air cargo business, is taking on a new role at the e-commerce giant. According to a memo seen by CNBC, Rhoads will now oversee Amazon’s workplace health and safety division, in addition to being in charge of its global operations learning and development unit. The move was announced by John Felton, the head of worldwide operations at Amazon.
Rhoads’ new role is seen as critical within Amazon, as the company faces increased scrutiny over its workplace safety record. The company has also been trying to handle and deliver more of its own packages in the past few years, building a transportation network that rivals UPS in size.
Rhoads, who was a former U.S Navy F-18 pilot, has been with Amazon since 2011 and was an important figure in Amazon’s air cargo business. She has overseen significant growth in Amazon Air, including the opening of a $1.5 billion air hub in Kentucky. Raoul Sreenivasan, who currently oversees planning, performance, and cargo for Amazon Global Air, will take most of Rhoads’ responsibilities in Amazon Air.
Who is Sarah Rhoads?
Sarah Rhoads is a former U.S Navy F-18 pilot who joined Amazon in 2011. She was responsible for Amazon’s air cargo business before being appointed to oversee the company’s workplace health and safety division.
What is Amazon Air?
Amazon Air is Amazon’s air cargo division that is responsible for delivering packages. It is part of the company’s fulfillment and logistics operations.
What is Amazon’s workplace health and safety division?
Amazon’s workplace health and safety division is responsible for ensuring that all Amazon employees work in a safe and healthy environment.
What is Amazon’s global operations learning and development unit?
Amazon’s global operations learning and development unit is responsible for improving the skills and career advancement of the company’s front-line workforce.
Why is Rhoads’ new role important?
Rhoads’ new role is important because Amazon has been facing increased scrutiny over its workplace safety record. With Rhoads overseeing its workplace health and safety division, Amazon is expected to improve its safety practices and create a healthier environment for its employees.
The workplace safety unit will now be overseen by the head of Amazon’s air cargo division.
Sarah Rhoads, who was instrumental in building Amazon’s thriving air cargo business, has transitioned to a new role as head of the company’s workplace health and safety division. John Felton, Amazon’s head of worldwide operations, announced the move in a memo to staff on Thursday. Rhoads, a former US Navy F-18 pilot, has been one of the top executives in Amazon’s expansive logistics business since joining the company in 2011. In addition to taking on the health and safety portfolio, Rhoads will also oversee Amazon’s global operations learning and development unit, which manages career advancement and skills improvement for the workforce.
Rhoads’ move to the new position is intended to ensure Amazon’s adherence to safety best practices across all aspects of operations. According to Felton, “Safety is paramount in every aspect of aerospace and other industries look to aviation for best practices in safety. Sarah’s background as a decorated military pilot and her success leading Amazon Global Air positions her as the ideal leader to assume this critical role.”
Raoul Sreenivasan, who presently oversees planning, performance, and cargo for Amazon Global Air, will assume many of Rhoads’ former Amazon Air responsibilities. Prior to joining the company, Sreenivasan worked at DHL and TNT Express, a European courier acquired by FedEx.
Amazon has gradually moved more of its fulfillment and logistics operations in-house in recent years, building a transportation network that it claims rivals UPS in size. In an effort to handle and deliver more of its own packages, Amazon launched an air cargo business. Rhoads joined Amazon Air in its early days and oversaw much of the unit’s growth, including the opening of a $1.5 billion air hub in Kentucky.
In an effort to keep up with burgeoning demand, Amazon has contracted multiple passenger airlines to fly packages in addition to other operators like Atlas Air and ATSG. Amazon also began using Sun Country Airlines and Boeing 737 freighters in 2020, while in October 2022, the company announced its agreement to fly leased Airbus A330 converted freighters, the largest aircraft in Amazon’s fleet and its first Airbus jets, with Hawaiian Airlines.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy is currently conducting a broad review of the company’s expenses as the company grapples with a downturn in the economy and slowing growth in its core retail business. Amazon scaled up its fulfillment and transportation network quickly in response to a pandemic-induced surge in demand but has since closed, canceled, or delayed many warehouses across the United States.
Amazon has also faced mounting pressure to address its workplace safety record. Employees criticized the company’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, alleging that it was not doing enough to protect them, and the firm has faced extensive scrutiny over the injury rates in its warehouses. In September, Amazon appointed Becky Gansert to head its workplace health and safety unit after Heather MacDougall resigned from the company.