Amazon Ring CEO steps down five years after acquisition
Jamie Siminoff, the CEO of Amazon subsidiary Ring, is stepping down from the role later this month, the company announced Wednesday.
Siminoff will take the role of chief inventor on March 22, and Elizabeth Hamren will succeed him as CEO. Hamren most recently served as COO of the chat app Discord, and has held executive roles at Microsoft‘s Xbox division and Meta’s Oculus virtual reality unit.
In addition to Ring, Hamren will also oversee Amazon Key, the company’s in-home delivery service; shared network service Amazon Sidewalk; as well as Blink, another maker of home security cameras that Amazon acquired in 2017.
“Invention is my true passion. I am constantly looking at how we can adapt to deliver for our neighbors, which is what we’ve always called our customers,” Siminoff wrote in a blog post. “This is why I decided to shift my role to Chief Inventor and bring on a new CEO.”
The move comes five years after Amazon acquired Ring for a reported $1 billion in 2018. The deal has helped Amazon grow its presence in the smart home and home security categories.
At the same time, press reports have raised scrutiny over Ring’s security protocols and the technology’s threats to consumer privacy.
In 2020, Ring said it fired four employees for peeping into customer video feeds after reports from The Intercept and The Information found that Ring staffers in Ukraine were given unfettered access to videos from Ring cameras around the world.
The company strengthened its security measures after a series of incidents wherein hackers gained access to a number of users’ cameras. In one case, hackers were able to watch and communicate with an 8-year old girl. Ring blamed the issue on users reusing their passwords.
Ring has also drawn criticism from privacy and civil liberties advocates over a controversial partnership with thousands of police departments across the country. The program allows police and fire departments to request video footage recorded by Ring cameras.
Privacy advocates have expressed concern that the program, and Ring’s accompanying Neighbors app, have heightened the risk of racial profiling and turned residents into informants, while giving police access to footage without a warrant and with few guardrails around how they can use the material.
Ring in 2021 began requiring police to make requests for videos or information public in the Neighbors app.
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