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Who is Andy Jassy, Amazon's new CEO?

Amazon celebrated its 27th anniversary on Monday when its CEO and founder Jeff Bezos stepped down and was replaced by Andy Jassy. Who is the new boss?

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Who is Andy Jassy, Amazon's new CEO?
Mike Blake REUTERS

Andy Jassy will have a monumental challenge as he takes over from Jeff Bezos to run one of the world’s largest companies. The company has grown at breakneck speed over the years now employing 1.3 million people but that keeps a “day one” startup philosophy.

Amazon is facing challenges from antitrust regulators at home and abroad and pressure to be a better corporate citizen. The company will have to find out how it can continue its fast-pace growth even as it churns through workers at an exceptional rate.

Who is Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy?

Andy Jassy, 53, received an MBA from Harvard Business School, has been with Amazon for nearly a quarter century. He joined the e-commerce giant in 1997, when it was still a start-up bookseller preparing to go public. He accepted his position at Amazon without knowing what his job or title at the company would be.

Speaking in a Harvard Business School podcast in September “I took my last final exam at HBS, the first Friday of May in 1997 and I started Amazon [the] next Monday.” Adding “It was super important to the Amazon people that we come that Monday.” Amazon floated its stock a little over a week later on 15 May 1997.

Jassy crucial in the creation of Amazon’s most profitable brand

Jassy worked in marketing and music convincing the Bezos to expand into selling DVDs and CDs coming out of his passion for music. In 2002 he was tapped by Jeff Bezos to become his first official “shadow”, a chief-of-staff-like role. According to Ann Hiatt he approached the role “with due diligence and care.” Hiatt says of Jassy that he is a “very fast study and quickly rose to the challenge given to him.”

Then in 2003 Jassy pitched the idea of sharing the company’s recently developed cloud capacity with other businesses. That business unit became Amazon Web Services (AWS) which now plays a vital role in how private companies and governments use the internet.

Jassy was promoted from senior vice president to CEO of AWS in 2016. The company now represents over 60 percent of Amazon’s operating profits which saw a large jump last year as people were forced to work from home.

Andy Jassy has big boots to fill

Jeff Bezos although stepping away from the day-to-day control of the business will become executive chair of the board. He will focus on pet projects like Blue Origin, his aerospace company which is competing to win government contracts to ferry astronauts to the moon. Bezos will form part of the first crewed flight of one of his rockets the New Shepard scheduled for 20 July.

In his final letter to shareholders Bezos said “Andy is brilliant and has the highest of high standards. I guarantee you that Andy won’t let the universe make us typical. He will muster the energy needed to keep alive in us what makes us special. That won’t be easy, but it is critical.”