// Doug Gurr to step down as Amazon’s UK country manager
// He is taking up a new role as a director at the Natural History Museum
// He is expected to stay with Amazon until later this year and his replacement will be announced in due course
Amazon’s UK boss, Doug Gurr, is stepping down from his role to take up a new position as the new director of the Natural History Museum.
Gurr first joined the online retail giant in 2011, having previously worked at Asda.
He was promoted to Amazon’s UK country manager in April 2016, after leading the retail giant’s China arm for two years.
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“We thank Doug for more than eight successful years at Amazon and for his leadership of the UK business in the last four,” an Amazon spokesperson said.
“Doug will be missed at Amazon but as someone who has always been passionate about culture, science and learning, we’re delighted for him that he’ll be leading one of the UK’s great cultural and scientific institutions.
“Doug will remain in his role at Amazon until later this year, and a new UK country manager will be announced in due course.”
During his four years running the UK arm of Jeff Bezos’ retail empire, Gurr had attempted to shift it away from criticism over tax avoidance and its decision to base its European operations in low-tax state Luxembourg.
He also attempted to shift the focus away from Amazon’s wide-scale use of zero-hours contracts and accusations of workers being overstretched in warehouses.
He sought to make Amazon more open to the public, rather than a business being directed by its owners in the US.
This included opening up warehouses to public tours and becoming more engaged with political debate, particularly around Brexit, where in 2018 he warned of “civil unrest” if the UK left the EU without a deal.
He also oversaw the launch of new services for Amazon UK customers and the company’s recent acquisition of a minority stake in Deliveroo, although that deal has been under investigation by the CMA.
Gurr, who was also previously on the board of the Science Museum, starts his new job at the Natural History Museum later this year, replacing current museum director Sir Michael Dixon announced last year that he would be stepping down.
His appointment has been approved by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Amazon has faced controversy over its environmental impact, with staff even publicly criticising the online retail giant.
Last year, thousands of Amazon employees signed an open letter to the company’s global chief executive Jeff Bezos, saying “leadership was urgently needed” on climate change
However, Gurr said he was “passionate” about the work that the Natural History Museum is doing to tackle climate change.
“The Natural History Museum’s vision of a future where people and planet thrive has never been more relevant and it is a privilege to be invited to lead this globally important cultural and scientific institution,” he said.
“I am passionate about the work the museum is doing to tackle the planetary emergency by using its unrivalled collection and leading scientific research to connect millions of people a year with nature. I can’t wait to join the team.”
In 2019, Amazon pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2040 as it announced “the largest order ever of electric delivery vehicles”.