This week marks the beginning of a new era at Amazon, as founder and longtime CEO Jeff Bezos handed the reins to Andy Jassy on Monday. Bezos, whose wealth ballooned to a record $211 billion during his tenure leading the technology and e-commerce behemoth, will remain executive chairman of Amazon’s board, but he will also have his hands full with other projects. The first of these will come on July 20 when he blasts himself briefly into space on the inaugural passenger flight of his space travel company, Blue Origin.
Jassy, meanwhile, will remain earthbound, taking charge of one of the world’s largest companies. Here’s what you need to know about Amazon’s new CEO:
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1. He has worked at Amazon for 24 years.
Jassy joined Amazon in 1997, three years after Bezos founded the company. That year, Amazon went public, and in its shareholder letter, Bezos outlined a vision for the company that remains true to this day: a relentless focus on customers, a long-term view of shareholder value through the pursuit of market leadership, and a “cost-conscious culture” that weighted employee compensation to stock options rather than cash.
2. He rose through the ranks to lead Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s cloud-computing division and its primary profit driver.
In 2020, AWS pulled in a record $13.5 billion in annual operating profits, accounting for 63% of Amazon’s total operating profits for the year. It is the market leader among cloud providers, outpacing its competitors by tens of billions of dollars in revenue each year.
3. He is known for his attention to detail, ambition and directness.
Several profiles of Jassy reference his practice of asking thoughtful and exceptionally detail-oriented questions in meetings with employees and other executives. This directness also extended to his relationship with his former boss, despite Bezos’s reputation for intimidating his subordinates with explosive confrontations. “He was someone who will tell you the truth,” Ian Freed, a former Amazon executive, told Fortune. “He would say it in a thoughtful and respectful way: ‘Jeff, here’s what I saw in that meeting, and here’s why I think we should try it in a different way.’”
4. He will be responsible for shepherding Amazon through a challenging period with regulators and critics of its labor and environmental practices.
While Jassy succeeded at Amazon in part by leading AWS to market supremacy, it’s this very dominance that is under scrutiny by regulators around the world. Like other Big Tech companies, Amazon is currently the subject of numerous antitrust probes and lawsuits aimed at some of its more controversial business practices, including using the data of the third-party brands it sells on its platform to produce and market its own competing products. (Though Amazon has disputed these claims.) Jassy will also have to follow through on two new corporate values added to Amazon’s internal list of principals this month: “Strive to be Earth’s best employer” and “Success and scale bring broad responsibility,” which seem to address critiques of the company’s treatment of its warehouse workers and environmental impact, both of which have frequently come under fire as the company has scaled to its current size.