Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Monday stepped down as the CEO of the online retail giant that he founded 27 years ago. Bezos, who is preparing to blast off into a new career stage, will become the executive chair of the company while Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon’s lucrative cloud sector Amazon Web Services (AWS) will take reins.
Jassy will net $214 million in Amazon stock when he takes over the chief executive role at the $1.7 trillion company on the anniversary of Amazon’s founding on Monday. Jassy, who cuts a low profile outside of the world of cloud computing, has some big shoes to fill in.
He is well-known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as Bezos has. “Jassy will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence,” the Amazon founder had noted in his letter.
Jassy joined Amazon as a marketing manager in 1997, soon after completing Harvard Business School. “I took my last final exam at HBS, the first Friday of May in 1997, and I started Amazon next Monday,” Jassy said in a Harvard Business School podcast in September, The Guardian reports. “No, I didn’t know what my job was going to be, or what my title was going to be,” he added.
In 2003, Jassy went on to found Amazon Web Services, or AWS, the cloud services division of the company which has been one of the most profitable but least-known units of the tech giant. AWS is a cloud hosting product that creates the infrastructure used by millions of companies, schools, and governments to run websites and apps. Amazon said it was not announcing an AWS replacement for Jassy yet.
AWS has now grown into a cloud platform used by millions that dominates legacy players like Oracle and Microsoft. The company now owns almost half the world’s public cloud infrastructure market and boasts a dominant 30 per cent market share of the cloud computing market.
Jassy has occasionally spoken out on social issues, tweeting about the need for police accountability after Breonna Taylor, a Black woman, was killed in her home by white policemen during a botched raid, and in favor of LGBTQ+ rights.
He has shown a passion for social and philanthropic issues. He has long devoted time to a Seattle non-profit that helps low-income students get into top schools. As homelessness became an all-consuming issue in Amazon’s hometown, Jassy quietly joined the company’s local city council member in walking the city during the one-night count designed to tally the scale of the crisis, Bloomberg reports.
Raised in the New York City area, he remains an avid New York sports fan, and holds a minority stake in the Seattle Kraken expansion National Hockey League team.