Jeff Bezos’s rocket company, Blue Origin, has found a new CEO. Dave Limp, a longtime Amazon (AMZN) executive leading the tech giant’s consumer gadget units, will replace current CEO Bob Smith on December 4 as Smith retires, according to internal emails sent by Bezos and Smith yesterday (Sept. 25).
Limp is currently Amazon’s senior vice president of Devices and Services, overseeing the company’s Alexa, Kindle, and Ring units. He spearheaded the development of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and Echo smart speaker products, both brainchildren of Bezos. Limp also led Project Kuiper, Amazon’s internet satellite business rivaling SpaceX’s Starlink. Amazon announced Limp’s resignation last month, marking an end to his 13-year tenure at the company.
“I’ve worked closely with Dave for many years. He is the right leader at the right time for Blue,” Bezos wrote in an email to Blue Origin employees. “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.”
“Lots to learn, but very excited,” Limp wrote in a LinkedIn post yesterday.
Limp began his career at Apple, where he held various roles between 1987 and 1996, according to his LinkedIn profile. He later held management positions at software companies Liberate Technologies and Palm before joining Amazon in 2010.
His only experience in aerospace is with Project Kuiper. The project obtained a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) back in July 2020 to deploy more than 3,000 satellites in low Earth orbit but hasn’t launched any yet due to the readiness of launch vehicles. Amazon has bought missions for its satellites to be launched by companies: the United Launch Alliance (ULA), Europe’s Arianespace, and Blue Origin. Three of the rockets that are supposed to launch Kuiper satellites have yet to be built: ULA’s Vulcan Centaur, Arianespace’s Ariane 6, and Blue Origin’s New Glenn. The only rocket ready for use is the ULA’s Atlas 5.
At Blue Origin, Limp will be tasked to get the New Glenn rocket ready for launch. He’s also expected to resume the flight of New Shepard, the rocket used for Blue Origin’s space tourism program, and ramp up the production of Blue Origin’s BE-4 rocket engines.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket has been grounded since September 2022, after an uncrewed research mission failed. Until then, it had launched 31 people into space.
Current Blue Origin CEO Smith has run the company since 2017. Under his leadership, Blue Origin has grown from approximately 850 people to more than 10,000 and built launch facilities across seven states.