People were shocked when Jeff Bezos revealed in 2021 that he was stepping down as CEO and taking the executive chair position instead. It was less shocking who he chose to succeed him.
In 1997, when Amazon only sold books, Andy Jassy joined the company right out of Harvard Business School. He brought so much value to the company once he joined that Bezos decided to choose him as his successor.
Being a lifelong music lover, he proposed introducing CDs and then watched as Bezos delegated the initiative to a more senior executive. Jassy joined the email marketing department just as Bezos was gutting it to save money during the dot-com bust.
However, Bezos saw potential in Jassy. He asked him to be his chief of staff before appointing him to run Amazon Web Services, a seemingly remote effort to sell raw computing power to startups and universities. Jassy grew that business into a behemoth, with $45.4 billion in revenue last year.
Jessy was Bezos’s shadow during his early years at the company, which aided his success as the company’s founder. This is the story of Andy Jessy and his rise to the position of CEO of Amazon:
Andrew R. Jassy was born in Scarsdale, New York, to Margery and Everett L. Jassy. His father was a senior partner and chairman of the management committee at the corporate law firm Dewey Ballantine in New York City. He was Jewish with Hungarian ancestry. Jassy was raised in Scarsdale and went to Scarsdale High School, where he participated in the varsity tennis and soccer teams.
Jassy earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard College and worked as the advertising manager for The Harvard Crimson before earning an MBA from Harvard Business School. In 1989, he wrote in The Crimson that despite an ongoing labor dispute at Eastern Air Lines, the newspaper should continue to publish advertisements from the airline.
ANDY JASSY; CAREER
After graduating, Jassy worked as a project manager for MBI, a company that deals in collectibles, for five years before beginning his MBA program. He then started a company with an MBI coworker and shut it down.
In 1997, the same year the business went public, Jassy joined Amazon as a marketing manager along with a few other Harvard MBA associates.
After joining the then-new bookseller in 1997, Andy Jassy immediately left a strong and painful first impression on Jeff Bezos.
Jassy, a new employee, accidentally hit Bezos in the head with a kayak paddle during a boisterous game of “broomball”. Broomball combines lacrosse and football and was created by another Amazon executive and is still played at the company in an excessively competitive manner.
Jassy was pardoned by Bezos, who swiftly and repeatedly promoted the New Yorker after realizing that he was nearly as competitively motivated as himself.
He actually followed Bezos everywhere he went, scribbling notes in all of his meetings and learning firsthand from the CEO himself. Jassy was chosen for the coveted role of “Technical Assistant” to work with Jeff Bezos before becoming the leader of AWS.
He spent 18 months following Bezos around. During this period Jassy found significant flaws in the way Amazon’s teams collaborated.
HE BROUGHT AMAZON GOOD IDEAS
Without a doubt, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the source of Amazon’s profits, and Jassy played a key role in its development. It now has a 30% share of the cloud market, storing data for companies such as McDonald’s and Netflix.
Jassy devised Amazon’s entrance into cloud storage. Although they increased the number of software engineers they employed, nothing changed.
Amazon’s software development teams were wasting money and taking longer than expected to finish tasks, which had proven to irritate Bezos. Jassy was tasked with fixing it by Bezos.
Regularly, the leadership team would outline a project and give it a three-month deadline. Engineers built the backend from scratch for each new project. It seemed to take ages. They would receive a report stating that it wasn’t ready after three months.
Jassy discovered that several projects were running behind schedule as a result of product teams taking too long to “build up storage, computing, and databases.” Jassy persuaded Bezos to invest in infrastructure and “standardize backend requirements.”
Amazon later externalized some of those APIs and Jassy became the founder of AWS. Millions of developers employed the top-notch infrastructure services they had developed for themselves when they opened them up to use in the creation of their own products.
Jassy received the Financial Times’ Person of the Year award in March 2016. A month later, Jassy was elevated to the position of chief executive officer of Amazon Web Services from the senior vice president. According to CNBC, Jassy made over US$36 million in 2016, while Bezos made a total of US$1.7 million.
Profits from AWS helped their e-commerce business expand and propelled Amazon to the top. The largest retailer on the planet. AWS is now one of Amazon’s most profitable subsidiaries.
Bezos decided to make a shift 26 years after creating Amazon and 15 years after launching AWS. Jassy was well-known within the organization and has shown to be an exceptional AWS development leader. Because of his successes and abilities, he was the ideal person for Bezos to place his trust in.
Bezos named Jassy as his official replacement as CEO in January 2021; the appointment was made public on February 2 at the release of Q4 earnings. The handover date of July 5 was officially declared on May 26.
The transfer was slated to take place in Q3 2021. Jassy took over the workplace on the same day that Bezos started the company in 1994. During his first year as CEO of Amazon, he received a salary package of $212.7 million, a significant rise from his 2020 income.
Andy Jassy advanced through the ranks from vice president to senior vice president to AWS CEO to CEO of Amazon. Jassy spent the majority of his tenure at Amazon serving as Bezos’s “intellectual sparring partner” and “shadow.”
However, he has demonstrated that he is better equipped than Bezos to use his platform to speak out on societal and political concerns. Although he had a lot of help along the road, Jassy’s success can be boiled down to four key factors.
Jassy has been interested in technology since he was a child. He once stated that his early dream was to contribute to the development of computer systems that would transform people’s lives.
He was motivated by this drive to finish college and land his first job at Amazon. Even though it occasionally appeared like nothing would ever go right for Jassy, he persisted in following his dream.
Jassy was rejected twice by Apple Computer, a well-known Silicon Valley corporation, before being offered a job there in 1998. He found himself wishing he was back at Amazon while working for Apple.
When Jeff Bezos questioned his original ideas after leaving Apple to return to Amazon as SVP of Worldwide Product Sales and Field Operations, he didn’t give up. Instead, he used that criticism to fuel his strategy, which was successful in 1999 and helped put Amazon on the map.
Jassy’s first few months at Apple were spent cleaning restrooms because Steve Jobs wanted to make sure no one was cutting corners at the facility where they housed all of their servers.
This anecdote demonstrates Jassy’s natural curiosity, which ultimately helped him succeed in a variety of leadership positions at Amazon Web Services.
Andy Jassy demonstrated outstanding innovation by devising a strategy to advertise Amazon through eBay. He once again demonstrated his inventiveness by buying surplus computer gear for pennies on the dollar from internal data centers of huge corporations to support the launch of AWS.
According to rumors, Jassy was a candidate for the CEO position at large corporations.
One time, Jassy was talked to by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer about taking over as the company’s CEO, according to a source with knowledge of the conversation. Another rumor said that Jassy was a candidate to succeed Travis Kalanick as CEO of Uber after his resignation in 2017.
Reaching the point where victors want you to take over their lifelong enterprises requires a specific type of effort and dedication. The fact that so many leaders have confidence in Andy Jassy shows how exceptional and trustworthy he is.
A person’s enthusiasm, perseverance, curiosity, and originality are essential traits that people of all professions must possess.
No obstacle is insurmountable if you are unfazed by rejection and criticism and determined to keep going until your objectives are achieved. The trick here is to be persistent and honest about your job. It would always pay off.
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