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Ousted Flexport CEO Dave Clark strikes back

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Dave Clark, the former Amazon executive who was ousted as CEO of Flexport just a year into the job, fired back at its founder and board, calling recent reporting on the logistics company “deeply concerning.”

Clark made the comments Monday in a lengthy post on social media site X following a report from CNBC that provided new information about his last days at Flexport, a freight forwarding and customs brokerage startup valued at $8 billion. Clark, who was handpicked by founder Ryan Petersen to take the top job, said he discovered extensive problems when he joined Flexport in September 2022, including a “revenue forecasting model that was consistently providing overly optimistic outputs.”

Flexport could not be reached for comment. TechCrunch will update this article if Flexport responds.

The post on X (formerly known as Twitter) reads:

Operating with integrity and treating colleagues with respect is critical to the success of any company, which, as a shareholder, makes today’s CNBC story and other recent reporting about Flexport deeply concerning. Despite my short tenure, I care about the company and its employees and want it to succeed.

When I joined Flexport as co-CEO in September 2022, I found a company lacking process and financial discipline, including numerous customer-facing issues that resulted in significant lost customers and a revenue forecasting model that was consistently providing overly optimistic outputs. The company had missed cost, margin, and revenue forecasts for multiple quarters prior to my arrival. My go-forward plan for Flexport, which was vetted by Ryan and presented to the Board, was focused on delivering growth and moving to align costs with revenue, not a revenue number based on hope — but one grounded in reality.

Although the problems at Flexport were much more extensive than I thought they would be when I agreed to join, I’ve never shied away from a challenge. During my time at Flexport, working alongside a talented team, we successfully transitioned to a new tech and product organizational model, integrated a significant acquisition and rapidly launched an end-to-end supply chain technology product all while simultaneously improving Flexport’s operations and internal processes.

Flexport is facing serious internal and industry challenges that require serious leadership, and I sincerely hope they find a successful path. But for me, it’s time to go build something new somewhere else…and then after that who knows.
Clark’s sudden departure was just the beginning of upheaval within the company.

The comments are the latest in an internal drama between Clark, Petersen and the board that was unfolding behind the scenes this summer, just a few months after the company acquired Shopify’s logistics unit. The issue came to a head in September when Clark was forced out.

The internal executive drama didn’t end with Clark’s departure.

Two days after Clark abrupt stepped down as CEO, Petersen said Flexport would rescind dozens of employment offers and look to lease out the company’s office space as it looks to get costs under control and “get its house in order,” according to a post on the social media site X. In a separate post, Petersen noted that Flexport has “grade A” office space to sublease in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and other locations around the world.

Petersen’s main complaints around Clark’s leadership — at least on public comments he has made — have centered around costs, specifically hiring and expanding too quickly. However, Clark’s hiring and big “entrepreneurial” vision for Flexport was hardly a secret. Clark was co-CEO alongside Petersen his first six months on the job. Petersen then stepped into an executive chairman role.

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