Harvard MBA graduates often land roles at big companies, but how many can say they are about to become CEO of one of the world’s largest tech firms?
Andy Jassy can. The Harvard Business School MBA grad will be taking over as chief executive of Amazon in late 2021, relieving the founder, and former world’s richest man Jeff Bezos from the role.
Jassy has been with Amazon for 23 years, but during that time few people will have come across his name, and even fewer will know who he is or what he does.
So who is Andy Jassy? And how did he manage to position himself to become the next leader of one of the world’s largest companies?
From Harvard MBA To Amazon
Jassy, who is 52, grew up in a town called Scarsdale in Westchester County, just north of New York City. In 1986 he moved to Massachusetts to study at Harvard University where he graduated Cum Laude four years later.
His first job saw him working as a project manager for a collectibles company called MBI. He left in 1995 after enrolling in an MBA at Harvard, where he took the first steps in a remarkable business journey.
Like many Harvard MBA students who find top jobs, Jassy was hired by Amazon within a matter of days of completing his MBA in 1997, the same year the company went public. He was one of Amazon’s early employees, founder Jeff Bezos had only taken on 256 employees at that point; today the tech behemoth employs over 1.2 million people.
Founding Amazon Web Services
The defining moment in Jassy’s career came when he founded Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2003. At the time, AWS offered a way to streamline the company’s web service, incorporating all of the company’s engineers within one infrastructure using cloud technology.
Now, AWS is the most successful branch of the entire Amazon brand, hosting millions of websites, companies, and governments within its cloud. Some of the world’s biggest companies rely on AWS, including Netflix and Airbnb, and it holds a dominant 30% share of the cloud computing market.
The immense success of AWS is a testament to the fact the company adopted the technology first, before competitors like Oracle and Microsoft, and is a testament to Jassy himself who was the driving force behind that decision.
Since Jassy joined in 1997, the company has grown to a valuation of more than $1 trillion, one of only six companies to reach that level. With much of that revenue owing to its cloud service, Jassy has made himself a worthy successor to Bezos.
While holding an executive role in one of the world’s largest companies for two decades, Jassy has still found time to dedicate himself to life outside of Amazon. He is a part owner of the National Hockey League team Seattle Kraken, and is a board member of Rainer Prep, a middle school in Seattle.
He has been married since he joined Amazon in 1997, to Elana Rochelle Caplan, a fashion designer for the clothing company Eddie Bauer. The couple have two children, and they live in Seattle.
In the last year Amazon has branched out into a number of new industries and markets as it looks to expand its services and importance globally. In Jassy, they have chosen an innovator with a proven track record for success to lead them on that journey.
As Jassy becomes Amazon CEO, he joins a long list of other notable alumni from Harvard Business School.
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