After five years at Amazon, Charlie Kindel is ready for a break.
The founder of Amazon’s Alexa Smart Home division left the company on Friday, writing in an email to colleagues that “the pace of the past 5 years has finally gotten to me and I simply need to catch my breath.”
“I was originally just going to take a temporary leave, but I like the idea of having total freedom of thought to decide what’s next in my life,” he wrote. “By making a clean break from Amazon all options (including coming back to Amazon) are still on the table.”
Kindel, a Seattle tech veteran who previously spent two decades at Microsoft, played an important leadership role at Amazon with the company’s Alexa voice platform. He created the Alexa Smart Home unit in 2016, helping grow Amazon’s voice technology capabilities inside the home.
“The Alexa Smart Home team is an incredible team that I was blessed to have built from the ground up,” Kindel wrote. “I’ve had so much fun watching so many people grow in their careers and it’s going to suck not being able to be around them day-to-day as they continue to flourish.”
Kindel plans to “relax and goof off,” and spend time with family. He isn’t ruling out a return to Amazon, where he appreciated the company’s leadership principles and high standards.
“I’m skeptical I’ll find another environment where the drive for ‘raising the bar’ is so consistent and strong,” he wrote.
In addition to voice-enabled services, Amazon continues to make other smart home-related investments. It agreed to acquire video doorbell maker Ring earlier this year and expanded its Amazon Key service earlier this month.