Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will hand over the CEO title to Andy Jassy on Monday, capping a more than two-decade tenure leading the company from online bookseller to $1.75 trillion global retail, logistics, and internet behemoth. Bezos said he intended to spend more time on his other endeavors, including the Washington Post, space company Blue Origin, and philanthropy when the company announced in February that he would shift from Chief Executive Officer to executive chairman.
Amazon under founder Jeff Bezos
Last year, Bezos, who is known for having one of the world's largest paychecks, was reported to have received $81,840 in salary and $1.6 million in other compensation from the company. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the company's valuation has risen.
As the popularity of Amazon's online shopping platform grew in recent years, Bezos' net worth increased by another $75 million in 2020. Thousands of Amazon warehouse workers were alleged to be living in shabby conditions during Bezos' term as CEO, which drew some criticism. Blue Origin, Bezos' business, is currently preparing to begin a program that will take passengers on suborbital and orbital flights.
Will Jeff Bezos continue to be one of the richest people in the world?
Amazon accounts for the majority of Bezos' net worth and fortune, with the remainder coming from his other businesses, including Blue Origins and the Washington Post media outlet. According to Business Insider, the median net worth of Americans when they retire is $266,400. When he retires, his fortune will be 739,489 times greater than the average American's.
In the year 2020, his fortune grew significantly. When the pandemic struck, most businesses struggled, but Amazon thrived as e-commerce demand skyrocketed. His net worth increased by $75 billion in that year alone as a result of the booming business growth.
It is safe to say that Bezos does not live like the average American. He does not pay income tax, for example. According to USA Today and data obtained from the Internal Revenue Service, and billionaire Jeff Bezos did not pay any federal taxes in 2007. He paid no taxes again a few years later, in 2011, and even received a $4,000 tax credit for his children.
Who is Andy Jassy?
The company had kept its succession plans under wraps, but observers speculated that either Jassy or Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon's global consumer business, would be Bezos' eventual successor. Wilke will retire in 2021, according to an announcement made by Amazon in August. In the third quarter, Jassy, 53, will take over as CEO. Jassy has been the leader of Amazon's Web Services cloud team since its establishment in 1997. AWS continues to be a major source of earnings for Amazon.
This divergent arm of the company served as the company's software cloud-computing arm in the early 2000s, and it was the backbone of the business. It provided Amazon with the revenue and capital is required to pursue additional investments, partnerships, and ventures in the future, as well as open the door to selling cloud services to third-party vendors and other businesses. It was the company's secret weapon, as the numbers were not made public until 2015.
Announcing his exit from the company, Bezos had said in a letter to his employees, "I'm excited to announce that this Q3 I'll transition to Executive Chair of the Amazon Board and Andy Jassy will become CEO."
Andy Jassy’s role in Amazon
When Jassy joined Amazon in the late 1990s, the company had been thinking about the cloud for years and was still solely focused on e-commerce. Jassy graduated from Harvard Business School in 1997 and soon after joined Amazon as part of a wave of fresh MBAs flocking to the tech industry prior to the dot-com boom.
According to a feature of Jassy published late last month by Insider, he moved on to become Bezos' first "shadow" adviser, akin to a corporate chief of staff who followed the CEO around every day and sat in on all of his meetings.
Around 2003, Bezos tasked Jassy with researching the then-nascent technology of cloud computing. The goal was to determine whether it made sense for Amazon to provide hosting services to other websites and businesses at a time when many of the world's largest technology companies relied heavily on third-party data centers.
Amazon set out to improve them by developing easier-to-use APIs and other technology that would allow any team within the corporation to access a shared pool of resources. According to TechCrunch, Jassy told a gathering at the re: Invent conference in 2018: “So very quietly around 2000, we became a services company with really no fanfare.”
It took another six years of exploring and experimenting for Amazon to launch its first cloud product in 2006, with the effort to formally develop AWS really taking off after a fateful 2003 executive retreat at Bezos' house, according to Jassy.
Jassy receives credit for architecting the company's cloud strategy, having led AWS since its inception and rising to CEO after Bezos moved him from a senior vice president position in 2016.
Early challenges to Jassy
When Jassy takes over, he will have to navigate the company through antitrust concerns. After a 16-month investigation into competitive practices at major technology companies such as Amazon, the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust concluded in October that Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have monopoly power. Amazon is also being sued for antitrust violations in the European Union.
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., a member of the House Judiciary Committee, stated on Twitter shortly after the announcement that he has questions for Jassy, implying a potential stumbling block when Jassy takes office.
I have some questions for Mr. Jassy. https://t.co/DLpTd2AEio
— Rep. Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) February 2, 2021