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Amazon Puts Alexa Leader Rohit Prasad in Charge of Generative AI Program

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has tapped Alexa chief Rohit Prasad to head up Amazon’s generative AI development team, reporting directly to him, a promotion first spotted by The Information. Prasad takes up his new role less than a year after rising from head scientist to leader of all aspects of Alexa at a time when Amazon is scrambling to carve out a place among Google, OpenAI, and Microsoft as the generative AI industry continues its explosive growth.

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Prasad is heading the main team working on Amazon’s large language models (LLMs) and generative AI products, according to a leaked email from Jassy. The Amazon CEO will directly oversee Prasad, reflecting the ambition underlying Amazon’s plans for LLMs. Those goals clearly extend beyond already released examples like Titan and the AWS Bedrock platform.

“Short note to share that Rohit is going to move to a new role leading a central team building our most expansive Large Language Models,” Jassy wrote, “While we’ve built several LLMs around the company, and have several others in flight, we are going to pool some resources centrally to build our most ambitious LLMs — and Rohit will lead this team. In this new role, Rohit will report to me.”

The competition has heated up in recent weeks. Meta launched Llama 2 last month as an open-source LLM that’s put the spurs in some rivals, possibly accelerating other open-source LLMs. OpenAI is rumored to be on that list, and may even be setting in motion its plans to release GPT-5, the next iteration of its proprietary LLMs, further pressuring current and potential rivals.

Prasad became the leader of all Alexa in November after former Alexa COO Debra Chrapaty and Alexa senior vice president Tom Taylor left the company. His latest work has centered on personalizing Alexa, with a vision of a more proactive and accessible voice assistant, building on the idea of “ambient AI.” His new work won’t remove him from Alexa work, according to an email from devices and services head Dave Limp leaked to Insider. That said, entertainment devices and services vice president Daniel Rausch will now oversee Alexa’s “product and business organizations.”

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