Amazon MGM Studios Becomes Latest to Lose High-Profile DEIA Exec as Latasha Gillespie Exits

Amanda Baker-Lane of the studios’ product and strategy department will replace her

Latasha Gillespie and Amanda Baker-Lane
Latasha Gillespie and Amanda Baker-Lane (Credit: Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios)

Amazon MGM Studios and Prime Video’s global head of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, Latasha Gillespie, is leaving the company, continuing a trend of DEI shakeups in the tech industry. She will be replaced by Amanda Baker-Lane, who previously served as head of DEIA product and strategy.

The news was shared with staff in an internal memo from Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke. Gillespie is leaving Amazon to “pursue other endeavors,” the memo said, and she will continue to work with the company “in a consulting capacity for a period of time.”

“I am beyond thankful for all [of Gillespie’s] contributions. Under her leadership, we developed inclusion resources that have resulted in more equitable stories and productions,” Salke continued, pointing out that Gillespie was instrumental in creating the Howard Entertainment Program, the Illuminative Indigenous Episodic Directors Program, the Latino Film Institute Youth Cinema Project Alumni Fellowship, the LALIFF Works in Progress Finishing Fund and an on-set mental wellness program.

“I feel really good about leaving the work of DEIA in amazing hands,” Gillespie said in her own internal note. “I started this work as a team of one, but I am blessed to have a strong, competent team in place to carry the work forward. I could not be more proud and elated to pass the torch to Amanda. She is a strategic
leader who will lead this work forward with brilliance, grace, and humility, because that’s who she is. I’m excited about my next chapter but will greatly miss working in the trenches alongside you every day. One thing will never change; we are forever linked by our incredible journey of making history and having fun along the way.”

Baker-Lane has been in the DEI space for 14 years with more than nine of them at Amazon. She put together programs including historically Black college conference “Beyond the Yard,” which brought over 220 students from more than 43 HBCUs together to connect, network and get hands-on experience. She spent the last two years on Gillespie’s leadership team.

“Since joining Amazon 9 1/2 years ago, I have learned from many amazing leaders making impactful advancements on inclusion, and I am energized about bringing my experiences to this new role,” Baker-Lane said. “Under Jennifer Salke’s direction, Amazon MGM Studios has become a true home for authentic storytelling and talent of all backgrounds, and I look forward to furthering that mission with my team.”

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