Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin is replacing its CEO Bob Smith with longtime Amazon executive Dave Limp, who planned to retire from his hardware boss spot in December, according to CNBC.
According to notes written by Smith and Bezos obtained by CNBC, Smith will retire from his top spot at Bezos’ rocket company after a six-year-tenure on Dec. 4, though he’ll remain with Amazon until Jan. 2 to help with the CEO transition.
Smith’s departure makes way for Limp, who will be leaving his position as Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Devices and Services — a role he’s held since February 2010, according to his LinkedIn.
Though Amazon has not disclosed a replacement for Limp, the e-commerce giant reportedly has plans to recruit Microsoft’s product chief, Panos Panay, to fill the position.
During his more than 13 years at Amazon, Limp headed up its Alexa, Echo and Ring units, as well as the company’s subsidiaries like autonomous vehicle brand Zoox and Project Kuiper, a satellite internet constellation.
He’ll be moving onto Blue Origin at a time when the company needs to ramp up production of its BE-4 rocket engines, get its space tourism rocket New Shephard back in flight and launch a new rocket, named New Glenn, according to CNBC.
Blue Origin also has to deliver on a $3.4 billion NASA contract it won in May, which requires the company to develop a human landing system for the agency’s mission to the moon, according to NASA.
Though an already daunting list of tasks for Limp, it could be made harder over staffers’ pushback on Blue Origin’s return-to-office mandate.
However, Blue Origin appears to think Limp is up for the challenge.
In a statement to CNBC, a Blue Origin spokesperson praised Limp as “a proven innovator with a customer-first mindset” who has “extensive experience in the high-tech industry and growing highly complex organizations.”
Last month, Blue Origin demanded that workers return to its offices in Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Reston, Va., and Kent, Wash., five days a week.
In an email memo, Blue Origin’s workforce of 3,500 was told that it’s “a work-from-work company.”
It’s unclear who penned the email on the updated RTO policy, which reportedly surprised workers.
Blue Origin’s crackdown on working from the office is more strict than at Bezos-founded Amazon, which requires staffers to work from an office three days a week.
Representatives at Amazon and Blue Origin did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Meanwhile, a federal government communique published an advisory on Friday warning that Chinese and Russian spies are looking to steal sensitive technology and data from US space companies, including Blue Origin and its Elon Musk-owned rival, SpaceX.
The National Counterintelligence and Security Center, the FBI and the Air Force said that “foreign intelligence entities recognize the importance of the commercial space industry to the US economy and national security, including the growing dependence of critical infrastructure on space-based assets.”
“They see US space-related innovation and assets as potential threats as well as valuable opportunities to acquire vital technologies and expertise,” according to the advisory, the existence of which was first reported by the New York Times.
Intelligence agencies are concerned over Chinese and Russian spy agencies’ increased interest in US commercial space companies, and thus called on Blue Origin and SpaceX to tighten their security protocols.
It’s unclear how Blue Origin plans to proceed in safeguarding itself following the federal agencies’ forewarning that US adversaries “use cyberattacks, strategic investment (including joint ventures and acquisitions), the targeting of key supply chain nodes, and other techniques to gain access to the US space industry.”