Amazon.com is changing the titles for the top bosses who run two of the company’s most lucrative business units.
The company today announced that longtime execs Andy Jassy and Jeff Wilke will now hold the titles of CEO, albeit in their respective divisions. Jeff Bezos remains the CEO of the entire company, which has aggressively diversified its business beyond online commerce in recent years to include devices, media, gaming, cloud technologies and logistics.
Wilke, a chemical engineer who joined Amazon in 1999 and previously served as senior vice president of consumer business, will now hold the title of CEO Worldwide Consumer.
Jassy, a marketer by training who joined Amazon in 1997 and later became Bezos’ technical assistant, will hold the title of CEO Amazon Web Services.
The move may also signal the potential successors to Bezos, the 52-year-old entrepreneur who has placed his stamp on the company since its founding in 1994. In 2014, Bezos — speaking at a tech conference in New York — said that the company did have a succession plan, but it was “secret.”
“As the company has grown, of course, my job has changed very much. My main job today, I work hard at helping to maintain the culture — a culture of high standards, of operational excellence, inventiveness, willingness to fail. … But I’m not going to be here forever,” Bezos told online journalist Henry Blodget. “Many of the traits that make Amazon unusual are now deeply ingrained in the culture. In fact, if I wanted to change them, I couldn’t. … Cultures are self-reinforcing, and that’s a good thing.”
Given their long track records at Amazon, both Jassy, 48, and Wilke, 49, certainly embody the Amazon culture. And both likely could pick the up the mantle if something were to happen to Bezos.
In recent years, some also have wondered whether Amazon might spin off its AWS unit, which is on pace to hit $10 billion in annual sales this year.
Amazon just last year started breaking out financial details around AWS, and at the time Bezos said the unit represented a “good example of how we approach ideas and risk-taking at Amazon.”
And comments today from Amazon seem to indicate that the company is more than happy keeping AWS in the fold.
“We are happy with our current structure and benefit from a strong connection between our AWS business and our North America and International businesses who use AWS services extensively to innovate quickly and drive down costs,” said a company spokesman in a statement emailed to GeekWire.
In a short blog post announcing the changes, Amazon noted that “this is not a reorganization but rather a recognition of the roles they’ve played for a while. Kudos to Andy and Jeff!”
Thank you and congrats to my friends and colleagues Jeff and Andy – very well deserved! https://t.co/hGLGMDluKu
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) April 7, 2016