Kessel joined Amazon in 1999 and was part of the team that built the original Kindle. He's known to be close with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, as he was one of the 10 people who directly reported to him before leaving for a sabbatical in 2012.
In early 2015, Kessel returned to Amazon, but his role has been unclear until now. Re/code says he's been working on this project secretly for a long time.Amazon's retail ambitions were first revealed in November 2015 when it opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in downtown Seattle.
Aside from the bookstore, Kessel's team is also planning to open physical stores that sell things other than books, although it's unclear what they will be. Another idea it's testing is a store without a payments gateway, allowing the customer to pay with a smartphone app instead.
Hmm does that mean there might be Amazon clothing stores or even Zappos shoe stores opening up? Might be yet another reason to head back to the mall.