Newly minted Amazon (AMZN) CEO Andy Jassy faces his first major public test as the head of the tech behemoth Wednesday, as he joins fellow tech CEOs to discuss national cybersecurity concerns with President Joe Biden.
Jassy, who took over as Amazon CEO from founder Jeff Bezos on July 5, won’t be the most well-known name in the room on Wednesday, especially since he’ll be next to Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella, and Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai. But that’s likely to change soon.
Jassy, 53, may not be a household name like Bezos, but the Scarsdale, New York-born executive is far from an unknown in tech circles. Jassy has been with Amazon since 1997, having joined the company after graduating from Harvard Business School. That same year, Jassy married Elana Caplan, with whom he has two children.
While he worked in marketing for the e-commerce side of Amazon’s business, his time spent with Bezos set him up for his eventual role as CEO of Amazon’s most profitable business: Amazon Web Services.
Jassy helped turn what was initially a proprietary computer system for Amazon into the premiere cloud computing service used by everyone from the U.S. government to Netflix. In its last quarter, AWS saw operating income of $4.19 billion compared to Amazon’s e-commerce business, which had operating income of $3.50 billion.
Jassy is known as a sharp executive who pays attention to fine details. He regularly read press releases related to AWS before they were sent out, people familiar with the process told Insider.
While head of Amazon’s crown jewel, Jassy showed support for social justice issues, calling for changes to policing in the U.S. following the killing of Breonna Taylor in 2020, and declaring his support for the Asian American community in the country amid an uptick in hate crimes.
Still, he’s also defended Amazon’s sale of its controversial facial recognition technology, which was previously found to misidentify individuals of color. The company put a one-year moratorium on selling the software to police departments in the wake of protests following the murder of George Floyd. In April, the company extended the moratorium indefinitely.
Andy Jassy is the CEO of a company under siege
Jassy has come into his position at a time of major upheaval for Amazon. Not only is the company facing stiffer competition in the cloud space from the likes of Microsoft and Google, but it’s also under investigation for possible antitrust violations.
Amazon has already been sued by Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, who accused Amazon of violating the District of Columbia Antitrust Act by forbidding third-party sellers from offering cheaper rates for their products on competing websites.
Amazon is one of the largest employers in the U.S., and after years of complaints from warehouse workers, labor unions are beginning to take action. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters recently announced it will begin working to organize Amazon workers, an effort that could succeed where an earlier campaign to unionize a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, failed.
Despite these challenges, Jassy will likely still have Bezos’ guidance. The founder and now spaceman will continue to serve as chair of Amazon’s board of directors, meaning he’ll have ultimate say over big-picture topics ranging from how the company responds to legal matters to whether it will launch new products.
How Jassy, Bezos, and Amazon will assist the government in ensuring that it and critical infrastructure companies have the cybersecurity capabilities needed to fend off cyberattacks is still up in the air. But as the largest cloud provider in the country, it will likely play an important role.
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