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Doug Hebenthal

Doug Hebenthal, who left Microsoft in 2012 to become engineering director for Amazon’s e-commerce payments platform, is leaving Amazon to take a job as senior vice president with Emdeon, a company that provides payment solutions and patient management systems for health care.

Hebenthal confirmed the move via phone this week, saying that he was intrigued by the opportunity with Emdeon because of his new role’s outward focus on customers, which more closely matches his experience than his inward-facing role as engineering director for Amazon’s payments platform.

Prior to making the move to Amazon, Hebenthal had spent more than 20 years at Microsoft, working as an original member of the Xbox team, and contributing to Microsoft’s early efforts on the Internet, among many other roles.

“For me, ultimately what it came down to is the possibility to make a huge impact on something that impacts everybody,” he said of his new role as senior vice president of engineering for Emdeon’s pharmacy business. The company provides a variety of payments services to customers including doctors, health-care payers, pharmacies and others.

After working for more than two decades at Microsoft, Hebenthal said he experienced a very different culture at Amazon, citing examples including the e-commerce company’s focus on pre-written “narratives” for internal meetings. In contrast with Microsoft, the approach gives execs and managers a chance to explain their story without being derailed after the third slide.

At the same time, he said, Amazon’s strategy of rapid growth can sometimes create trade-offs, making the company feel like the “Wild West” at times.

Emdeon is based in Nashville, Tenn., but Hebenthal will continue to work in the Seattle region in his new role.

We’ve contacted Amazon to find out about the company’s plans to replace Hebenthal in the payments role.

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