Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos is stepping down. Replacing the billionaire will be Andy Jassy, who has been working with the company for more than two decades.
In a letter to his employees, the outgoing CEO called his successor Jassy “an outstanding leader” and conveyed in him his full confidence.
So, who’s Jassy and what do you need to know about him?
The One Steering the ‘Profit Engine’
Jassy has been with Amazon since 1997 – and he’s behind developing the company’s “profit engine” – its web platform.
In 2006, he founded Amazon Web Services (AWS) with a team of 57 people.
The concept of Amazon’s cloud service platform provides APIs to individuals, companies, and governments. The service competes with Microsoft Corp’s Azure and Alphabet Inc’s Google Cloud.
AWS now hosts 42 percent of the top 10,000 websites.
“Andy brings the first principles thinking that has always been a part of what’s made Amazon successful – deeply trying to understand the end customer, creating building blocks by which other people can build and then being good at rapidly iterating,” Matt McIlwain, a managing director with Madrona Venture Group in Seattle, who has closely monitored Amazon’s rise, told Bloomberg.
According to recent disclosures, AWS has racked up $12.7 billion in revenue which makes more than half of Amazon’s total revenue.
The 53-year-old American businessman grew up in Scarsdale, New York, and joined Amazon after pursuing MBA from Harvard Business School.
He worked as a technical assistant for Bezos in the early 2000s where he was responsible for leading the company’s push outside of book sales.
“I took my last final exam at Harvard Business School, the first Friday of May in 1997 and I started Amazon next Monday. No, I didn’t know what my job was going to be, or what my title was going to be. It was super important to the Amazon people that we come that Monday.”Jassy in a Harvard Business School podcast, as quoted by Reuters
In his letter, Bezos wrote, “Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have.”
In 2019, he faced criticism when he defended Amazon’s sale of facial recognition technology to law and enforcement despite concerns over its inaccuracy and racial bias.
He defended AWS’s facial recognition, and its government and police use. In June 2020, AWS implemented a one-year moratorium on police use of the technology.