Andy Jassy: Eleven facts about Amazon’s CEO-in-waiting
A few days ago, Jeff Bezos announced that he would be stepping down as the CEO of Amazon later this year. This means he will be handing over the CEO-reigns to someone else. And it does not come as a surprise to many in Amazon and indeed in some parts of the tech community that this someone is the man who is in charge of Amazon’s cloud service, Andy Jassy. Jassy is one of the senior-most officials at Amazon and has been very close to Bezos. While Bezos’ shoes are indeed massive ones to fill, the man himself said in his announcement mentioned that he has complete confidence in Jassy.
But while those tracking Amazon know Jassy, to the public he is nowhere near as big a name as Bezos. Not at the moment at least.
This is why we have dug up eleven relatively lesser-known facts (and One More Thing) to help you get better acquainted with the next CEO of Amazon, Andy Jassy:
Joined Amazon right after college…
Andy Jassy is one of the most senior and earliest employees at Amazon. He joined Amazon right after graduating from Harvard Business School. As per Jassy, he gave his last exam for MBA on the first Friday of May 1997 and had joined Amazon by the first Monday of the month itself.
And never left
Born and brought up in New York, Jassy did not plan on staying in Seattle for long. But ah, fate and Amazon had other things in store. He ended up calling Seattle home, thanks to Amazon. And look where he is now!
Joined Amazon for an entrepreneurial adventure
When Jassy joined Amazon back in 1997, the company was still very young. While joining he did not think Amazon would go on to become the technology and e-commerce giant it has become today. He joined the brand for an entrepreneurial adventure. Wasn’t he half right!
Got the job, with no designation
At the time of joining, Jassy says he did not know what his job was going to be or even what his title was going to be. Clearly, he was not fixated on designations. What he DID know was that it was very important to people at Amazon that they show up on Monday. And so he did.
The man behind Amazon Web Services
Back in 2003, Andy Jassy pushed for the idea of Amazon Web Services (AWS) which went on to become the most profitable segment of Amazon’s portfolio. The project was championed by Jassy and over the years Amazon has gained control of over 33 percent of the global cloud infrastructure market. Just for a comparison, that is way more than Microsoft at 18 percent and Google at 9 percent. AWS today provides data storage to the likes of Netflix, Apple, Lyft, and McDonald’s and generates over USD 50 billion a year in revenue for Amazon. No wonder Bezos has confidence in him – he has got Amazon on Cloud Nine!
Got a stake in a sports team
The soon-to-be Amazon CEO is not just all about work. Jassy’s father is a sports freak in Jassy’s own words and the apple has not fallen too far from the tree in this case. While growing up in New York, Jassy’s father used to have season tickets to the Rangers and Giants and he went to these games regularly. Small wonder he is deeply invested in sports. And we mean literally – he has invested in the National Hockey League’s Seattle Kraken team and is a minority owner of the team. In addition to this, he also is the chairman of a Seattle charter school named Rainier Prep.
Has a sports bar in his basement
If investing in a sports team was not fanaticism enough, Jassy has actually built himself a full-fledged sports bar in his basement which he calls the ‘Helmet Head.’ It is equipped with seven TVs to deliver an ultimate viewing experience and is an attempt to recreate the atmosphere of watching games at local Seattle pubs such as Sluggers in the Stadium District.
Loves his music
It is not just his work and sport that Andy Jassy is passionate about. He is known to love music just as much. He has mentioned that he has attended a lot of concerts right from the time he was young. Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, and Traffic are just some of the artists he was a fan of in his high school days. The list expanded and included Guns N’Roses, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Willy Porter, and others as he grew up. Definitely not your next-door techie with a mono-dimensional personality, this. And wait, there’s more!
Heck, hits the notes at keynotes too!
Just as in sport, Jassy has not been content to just follow the music. He has carried this passion for music and has brought in some of it in his work. He is known to work with live bands at keynote events and helps choose the songs played. He also pushed Amazon to add music sales to its list of retail services, which eventually amped up the company’s revenues.
A voice for social causes
While most high-profile officials refrain from making statements on divisive social issues, (something Bezos has been accused of) Jassy has been a man of words in this regard. He has been known to make statements on social injustice and issues. He tweeted about the need for police accountability after Breonna Taylor, a black woman was fatally shot by a white officer in her home back in September. He also is very vocal about LGBTQ rights and immigration reforms.
A “chill”, “full-on beer and wing tech bro”
Many of Andy Jassy’s colleagues have defined him as a “chill”, “full-on beer and wing tech bro” kind of person. Jassy is a self-proclaimed experienced buffalo wing-eater. So much so that he hosted a “Tatonka Bowl” back in 2009. Tatonka is the Native American word for Buffalo and the Bowl is a chicken-wing-eating tradition in the Seattle area. Hundreds of Amazon employees participated in the extreme eating competition which took place at the local restaurant called Wing Dome.
And one more thing…the “Shadow of Bezos” looms over Amazon!
A lot has been written about how close Jassy is to Bezos. So much so that many often refer to him as the ‘shadow’ of Bezos. The two share a number of personal and professional traits. Both have the urge to invent or reinvent and regardless of what the project is, both focus on the end-users. Bezos might be leaving the CEO’s office. But his “shadow” will take his place. Amazon seems to be in good hands!