Amazon

AWS' Andy Jassy takes over Jeff Bezos as Amazon CEO

03 February 2021 | Abigail Opiah

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Amazon said on Tuesday that its Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will transition to the role of Executive Chair in Q3 and Andy Jassy will become Chief Executive Officer.

The transition will promote the company’s current cloud computing head as the billionaire founder hands over the reins for the first time since the company’s inception.

Bezos said he intends to focus his energies and attention on new products and early initiatives.

“Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have. He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence,” added Bezos in an open email to his employees.

“Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else. As Exec Chair I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions.”

Jassy joined Amazon in 1997, with several other Harvard MBA colleagues. His early roles included marketing manager.

Jassy founded Amazon Web Services, according to the company’s website and in April 2016, he was promoted from senior vice president to CEO of AWS.

Speaking on the announcement, Nicholas McQuire, SVP Enterprise Research at CCS Insight said, “Bezos created the blueprint for internet businesses: rapid innovation, huge scale and relentless focus on the customer and few people on the planet have the DNA of managing high growth / high innovation businesses at scale than Andy Jassy.

“He also fully understands the wealth of assets across Amazon’s flywheel of operations as well and the move should afford Jeff Bezos more time to focus on big, new bets for the company. The key question will be how Jassy manages some of the inevitable bumps in the road Amazon will face with issues like anti-trust, workers’ rights and employee activism on this rise.

“He has proven to be very outspoken on broader political issues in the past and he will face an increasingly scrutinous media as the firm continues on its trajectory.  Along with his successor at AWS (which will be another key move to watch), above all, Jassy will need to maintain trust in the Amazon brand in light of these issues.”

With Jassy moving into his new role at the company, it has been rumoured that Peter DeSantis, vice president of global infrastructure at AWS or Matt Garman, who is vice president of sales and marketing are just two of the names being tossed about in the race to run AWS.