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TJ Parker (left) and Elliot Cohen in 2015. Photo: Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Amazon Pharmacy leaders TJ Parker and Elliot Cohen have quietly been demoted to roles as consultants for the company, two sources familiar with the matter tell Axios. 

Why it matters: The leadership shakeup could either be an attempt at hammering out a clearer path forward or a sign of deeper troubles. Parker and Cohen have steered Amazon Pharmacy since 2018 when the tech giant acquired PillPack, their prescription drug startup. 

Driving the news: Neil Lindsay, the former head of Amazon Prime, has stepped in to oversee Pharmacy and Amazon Care, CNBC reported.

  • All Amazon Pharmacy employees who reported to Parker, who had been a VP, will now report to Amazon Alexa VP John Love, according to one source.
  • "I'm proud of everything the PillPack team has built since joining Amazon,” says Parker in an emailed statement, adding that he and Cohen are looking forward to working with Lindsay and the team on their broader vision.

Between the lines: High-level staff changes don’t typically occur at Amazon during peak fulfillment and delivery season, which generally runs from Thanksgiving to the first week of January. 

  • Despite acquiring PillPack nearly four years ago, Amazon Pharmacy's share of the overall prescription drug market remains in the single digits, overshadowed by established pharmacy companies like CVS and Walgreens.

What they're saying: Several sector analysts say if Amazon Pharmacy wants to change its trajectory, it will need to identify a core customer and clear go-to-market strategy.

  • Adam J. Fein, CEO of the Drug Channels Institute, tells Axios that "unless Amazon makes a large acquisition or embarks on a truly novel strategy, its overall share of the prescription dispensing market will remain in the low single digits."

After publication, an Amazon spokesperson contacted Axios to say that the change was not a demotion, as Parker and Cohen will be staying on to help with the company's broader healthcare vision.

Go deeper

MARTA CEO Jeffrey Parker has died

Jeffrey Parker, the CEO and general manager of MARTA, speaks at the West End station in December 2020. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Jeffrey Parker, a longtime transit veteran who since 2018 has led MARTA during one of the most ambitious periods in the agency's history, died Friday evening. According to MARTA, the cause of death was suicide. He was 55.

  • "The entire metro Atlanta region owes him a debt of gratitude for his transformational efforts and we will not stop working to build on the foundation he created," MARTA Board Chair Rita Scott said in a statement.

"As we struggle to understand the complexity of this tragedy, we grieve with and for his wife Erin, his daughters and all of Jeff’s family and friends as well as his MARTA family," Scott said. "As we continue to grieve, we want you to know that suicide is preventable and help is available to you."

Background: Parker was named MARTA's CEO and general manager after a long career in the public and private sector, including 20 years with the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority and as the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Earlier this week, Parker hosted the annual State of MARTA event where he highlighted the transit agency's achievements during the challenging COVID pandemic and unveiled a new rail car design.

What they're saying: Tributes to Parker and condolences for his family, friends and colleagues poured in from elected officials, civic leaders and transit advocates.

  • Mayor Andre Dickens, who worked closely with Parker as the Atlanta City Council's transportation committee's chair, said in a statement that "Jeff understood that MARTA is more than just a transportation system — it represents connectivity for residents and visitors of our great city and region."
  • The Atlanta City Council said Parker's "time at MARTA was marked with both a pragmatic and profound vision for our region’s future, and his intelligence, thoughtfulness and dedication will be sorely missed."
  • Doug Hooker, the executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission, called Parker "an inspirational and driven leader who steered MARTA through one of the most challenging periods in the agency’s history. He championed a modernized, more equitable transit system that puts the customer first, a vision that will be lasting."

Governor Brian Kemp, House Speaker David Ralston, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan and many others have also shared tributes.

  • MARTA staff lowered the flags outside the agency's Lindbergh headquarters to half-mast.

If you or someone you know needs help, help is available. Call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line at 1-800-715-4225 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Both are staffed around the clock.

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker