To better understand who is likely to lead Amazon, an empire that includes advertising, entertainment, logistics and cloud computing, the US media interviewed six former managers, executives and insiders. Amazon declined to comment on its succession plan.
First of all, we need to clarify that there is no sign that Bezos, 56, is ready to hand over power. In fact, the new outbreak only prompted Bezos to rethink the companys future. He is very committed in building businesses, especially in the field of health care and self driving cars, most of which are not expected to quit CEO soon.
Even so, every big public company, especially one with a market capitalization of $1.7 trillion, needs to be ready for the future of founders leaving. But there are also obvious choices for the companys top executives, such as Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, cloud computing services; Jeff Blackburn, senior vice president of global business development; and Dave Clark, senior vice president of global operations, who will succeed Wilke.
Andy jasey, chief executive of AWS, at the re: invent conference in 2019. (Photo by geekwire / Todd Bishop).
Also noteworthy is Amazons recently expanded 26 person S-Team, a leadership team that drives key decisions for the company, including executives in the business areas of overseeing performance, studio, fashion and delivery. The longer Bezos has been in the company, the more likely it is that control will eventually be handed over to new members of the current leadership team. This is one of the reasons why the gender and diversity of this group is getting more and more attention.
For now, Mr. jasey may be the leader in the ceo role, who is in charge of the lucrative cloud computing business. A former Amazon manager points out that if you split Bezos in two, youll find that hes actually a combination of Wilke and Jesse. Among them, Wilke is a brilliant business executive, while Jesse is Bezoss Whisperer. He is the embodiment of Amazons 14 leadership principles.
For example, when Satya NADELLA was appointed chief executive of Microsoft six years ago, few people put him on the list of candidates. He has never been a CEO, and he comes from a deep engineering team at a company that needs to refocus on enterprise software and cloud computing expertise.
In many ways, the internal choice is the right choice for Microsoft, just as Apples successful transition to Operations Executive Tim Cook after the untimely death of co-founder Steve jobs. Both apple and Microsoft have seen significant growth in recent years, both looking internally for their next CEO.
Of course, Amazon is a very different technology giant from Apple or Microsoft, but its culture does help to pick an insider to lead. Executives who succeed at Amazon tend to have longer tenure, with jasi working for 23 years, chief financial officer Brian olsavsky for 18 years, and senior vice president and general counsel David zapolsky for 21 years.
After graduating from University, Clark worked as a junior high school music teacher for a year, and then spent almost all of his career in Amazon. The 47 year old joined Amazon after graduating from graduate school in 1999 and has been promoted along the way, deploying robotics in distribution centers and overseeing the electrification of the companys expanding delivery fleet. When Wilke retires, Clark will have to work very hard to take up his responsibilities.
Dave Clark is now the new CEO of Amazons consumer business
One former Amazon executive said Mr. Wilke was probably the most important executive in the company over the past decade. He brought lean thinking into the company, developed a category leadership model, and was ready for Amazons huge growth over the past 10 years, the former executive said A former general manager at Amazon points out that Wilke is a strange mix who is both data-driven and has a deep understanding of how to motivate people. What makes Wilke so special is his desire to understand human algorithms and what that means for organizing and leading hundreds of thousands of people, he said
If theres anything magical about Amazon, its that the company can keep the fire burning with more than 1 million employees and nearly $90 billion in quarterly sales. The next leader will embody the unusual feature of continuing to push the company into new areas, understanding how to quickly learn from failures and experiment when the time is right. Of course, this focus on innovation needs to happen at the same time as Amazons newly discovered power in the global economy.
Amazon may decide to look for a CEO with international experience because they are still a US centric company, which is unusual for such a large organization. Having said that, the company recently reached a milestone, with its international business generating $345 million in profits in the second quarter. Prior to this, Amazon lost money in its international e-commerce sector for a long time. Choosing an heir is one of the hardest things for a company to do well. Whats more, a company like Amazon, which has a large scale, a large coverage and a unique company, adds to the complexity. Of course, replacing the charismatic founder of Bezos is also a challenge. In this regard, companies often look for successors who can help define a new era. Tim Cook brought complementary skills to apple, just as Satya NADELLA added a different style to Microsofts Steve Ballmer era. Amazon may be looking for that complementary person for the next leader, someone different from Bezos. (small) source of this article: Ding Guangsheng, editor in charge of Netease science and Technology Report_ NT1941
Amazon may decide to look for a CEO with international experience because they are still a US centric company, which is unusual for such a large organization. Having said that, the company recently reached a milestone, with its international business generating $345 million in profits in the second quarter. Prior to this, Amazon lost money in its international e-commerce sector for a long time.
In this regard, companies often look for successors who can help define a new era. Tim Cook brought complementary skills to apple, just as Satya NADELLA added a different style to Microsofts Steve Ballmer era. Amazon may be looking for that complementary person for the next leader, someone different from Bezos. (small)