Andy Jassy: From an Ivy League school to CEO of Amazon

SOURCE: Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP
What was the X-factor that got Andy Jassy the top spot at Amazon to succeed Jeff Bezos?


By U2B Staff 

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Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will be handing over the reins to Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy to take over as Amazon CEO later this year. 

According to reports, Jassy and Amazon’s worldwide consumer business CEO Jeff Wilke have been in the running as Bezos’ successor, but what was the X-factor that got Jassy the top spot?

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According to Jassy’s LinkedIn profile, the top cloud executive joined Amazon in 1997. CNBC reported that Jassy has led Amazon’s Web Services cloud team since its inception and that AWS continues to drive much of Amazon’s profit.

In an email to employees, Bezos said: “I’m excited to announce that this Q3 I’ll transition to Executive Chair of the Amazon Board and Andy Jassy will become CEO. 

“In the Exec Chair role, I intend to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives. Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have. He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence.”

If you’re curious about what it takes to lead the tech behemoth, we take a look at the education of Jassy.

Jassy has both an undergraduate degree as well as an MBA from Harvard. Source: Amazon

An undergraduate and graduate degree from an Ivy league

Jassy has both an undergraduate degree as well as an MBA from Harvard. 

An MBA is a common qualification held by many helming top organisations, including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Harvard notes on its website: “Harvard Business School offers a two-year, full-time MBA programme with a general management curriculum focused on real-world practice.”

Its MBA programme is highly competitive. Their median GMAT score is 730, but the school has a total range of 590–800. Despite this, HBS, along with many other top business schools, often note that there is no minimum GMAT score to apply. 

According to the Guardian, Jassy joined Amazon right off the bat after completing his studies at Harvard Business School (HBS). At the time, he didn’t know what his job was going to be, nor his designation.

Forbes reports that Jassy worked as Bezos’ technical assistant before eventually helping to launch Amazon Web Services in 2006, a cloud hosting product that can run websites and apps, used by millions across the globe including tech giants such as Oracle and Microsoft.

Mindshare Worldwide chief transformation officer Tom Johnson told Guardian, “Jassy’s background in steering AWS shows just how top-of-mind those services are to Amazon’s business strategy. It will be interesting to see how that affects their strategy and balancing that priority with a growing ad business and the commerce behemoth.”

Apart from having Bezos’ full confidence in him, Jassy is also known for understanding technical details and has also spoken out about social issues, including tweeting about the need for police accountability after Breonna Taylor, a Black woman was killed in her home by white policemen during a botched raid.

An MBA prepares you with an arsenal of skills

An MBA helps candidates build deep general management and leadership skills and is still seen as an asset in today’s competitive world for employees who want to stand out from the pack.

They help open the door to networking opportunities and can open the door to high-paying careers, as was the case with Jassy.

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According to Forbes, Jassy had turned Amazon Web Services into the company’s biggest moneymaker, with a client roster that includes Netflix, Zoom and ESPN. 

“The division did US$45 billion in sales in 2020, up 30% from the previous year. It is far more profitable than the larger retail business, bringing in nearly 60% of Amazon’s operating income,” the report said.

Jassy was nicely compensated and received US$349,000 in 2019 and security detail. He also owns shares in Amazon and has some 81,500 shares, worth about US$275 million. Forbes also reports that he has another US$162 million in estimated cash and investments, from selling shares over the years, which gives him a net worth of nearly US$440 million.

It’s clear that Jassy’s tech and business know-how, combined with his soft skills, helped make him a top choice as Amazon’s new CEO.