Andy Jassy, CEO, Amazon

Workaholic Andy Jassy has become busier since stepping into the big shoes of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos three month ago. Mr Jassy, the former CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS) – the cash-cow, cloud-services venture of the e-commerce giant – has had to face numerous challenges at home and abroad after taking up his new role.  

Mr Bezos – who started Amazon as an online bookseller from a garage in 1994 and steered it into a technology company – will be the e-commerce company’s executive chairman. However, day-to-day operation and other myriad businesses of Amazon are now being handled by Mr Jassy.

It is certainly a massive task for the new, 53-year-old Amazon chief to replace Mr Bezos. In fact, Mr Jassy’s responsibilities have got tougher as he gears up to manage the Seattle, Washington-headquartered company, which is growing rapidly and is more valuable than ever.

The challenges are definitely daunting, but Mr Jassy is an Amazon veteran who knows the company like the back of his hand. After his BA graduation from Harvard College, Mr Jassy worked for five years as a project manager for a collectibles company, MBI. Later, he signed up for an MBA programme at Harvard University. Mr Jassy joined Amazon as a project manager in 1997 immediately after completing his MBA degree.

In 2003, Mr Jassy and Mr Bezos came up with the idea to create a cloud-computing platform. Mr Jassy was tasked to head a team of 57 people for developing the platform, which materialised in 2006 as AWS. Mr Jassy and his team build AWS as one of the biggest cloud-computing service providers in the world. With steady profits over the years, AWS accounted for over 12 per cent of Amazon’s total revenue of $386 billion in 2020. AWS has been providing cloud-computing platforms to a wide range of individuals, companies and governments. Microsoft’s Azure and Alphabet’s Google Cloud are still miles behind AWS.

Now, in his new role, Mr Jassy will be going beyond increasing Amazon’s profits, market capitalisation and global footprint to many other pressing issues. The e-commerce behemoth faces stiff competition from some of the biggest US companies, such as Microsoft, Google and Walmart, among others. Many of these competitors have been strengthening their cloud services, especially after COVID-19 driving most of the business activities online.

For a long time, Amazon has been under the scrutiny of global regulators on issues such as taxation and data collection. Besides, Amazon is grappling with unionisation among warehouse employees and other workers.

And outside its core US market, India is the next, big battleground for Amazon. With over 60 crore internet users and booming online transactions, stakes are higher than ever for the internet marketer today. But along with the huge growth potential, Amazon faces many hurdles in India. Homegrown rivals Flipkart – now owned by Walmart – and Reliance have been giving a tough fight to Amazon. Besides, Indian regulators too are looking into charges of monopolistic practices and bribery against the online retailer.

Formidable as the challenges may be, Amazon perhaps is fortunate to have Mr Jassy at the top. In fact, he embodies the very principles that have made Amazon successful. The new chief might already be ready with a strategy to tackle the multiple woes besieging Amazon.

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