Who is Amazon's Andy Jassy, the tech giant's soon-to-be CEO?

The Harvard grad has been Amazon's cloud king since 2003

Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy is set to take the reigns of the e-commerce giant in the third quarter of 2021, according to an announcement by CEO Jeff Bezos on Tuesday.

"Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have," Bezos wrote in an email to employees. "He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence."

Bezos will transition to the role of Executive Chair, where he will focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, his space exploration company, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and "other passions".

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Jassy joined Amazon in 1997 as a marketing manager before founding Amazon Web Services, the company's highly profitable cloud computing unit in 2003. He was later promoted from senior vice president to CEO of AWS in 2016.

Amazon chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said on the company’s earnings call Tuesday that the executive change was made in consultation with Amazon’s board of directors, calling Jassy a visionary leader.

Matt McIlwain, the managing director of Madrona Venture Group, a Seattle venture firm that invests in cloud start-ups told the Washington Post recently that Jassy "embodies the culture of Amazon."

"He has consistently demonstrated the ability to be a builder," McIlwain said.

Microsoft CEOs Satya Nadella and his Google counterpart Sundar Pichai congratulated Jassy and Bezos on the new roles.

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At the Goldman Sachs' Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco last year, Jassy said that there are "really only two significant industries which Amazon has disrupted,” speaking about retail and technology infrastructure. “In both cases, they were models that were pretty antiquated,” he added.

He explained at the conference that Amazon strives to build a culture of innovation.

“We want builders in everything that we do," said Jassy," and so what we try to do in our culture and everything we talk about as a senior leadership team is ask how do we build the type of company and the type of culture that allows builders to build?"

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The soon-to-be CEO also noted that Amazon wants "builders in everything that we do, and so what we try to do in our culture and everything we talk about as a senior leadership team is ask how do we build the type of company and the type of culture that allows builders to build?"

He also said about working at the tech giant, "When we talk about processes that we don’t like or bureaucracy that we might see creeping in, a lot of it we want to knock out because we want to make it the world’s best place for builders to build. And I think that there really are few places like Amazon if you’re a builder and that’s what we spend most of our time trying to figure out.”

The veteran cloud computing leader also talked about how the cloud is shaping the future, noting the "number one reason that enterprises and public sector organizations are moving to the cloud is agility and speed and the ability to innovate at a much more rapid clip.”

The 53-year-old executive attended Harvard University for his undergraduate studies and received an MBA from the Ivy League institution.

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A native of Scarsdale, N.Y., a study of Jassy's Twitter feed is mostly touting and supporting Amazon-related projects. Since August of 2020, he has posted 15 times that he is "excited" about one project or another.

While mostly steering clear of politics, Jassy has previously shown support for Supreme Court decisions that made it illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in the workplace and blocked former president Donald Trump's bid to end the  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  (DACA) program.

A longtime hockey fan who grew up cheering the New York Rangers, Jassy is also part owner of the new National Hockey League expansion team, the Seattle Kraken. According to Fortune magazine, he is such a passionate sports fan he built a sports bar inside his home.

Of the colorful name of the team, he explained to ESPN why it is the perfect moniker for Seattle's first NHL team.

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"It's a very unique and unusual name in sports, because almost all sport franchises end with an 'S,'" Jassy told the 24-hour sports network, "There are a lot of obvious connections to Seattle -- part because of our maritime history; part of because we have so much water around us -- but there is longtime folklore in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest of this mystical Kraken creature that lives just below the surface of the sea, which really captivated people for many years.

Amazon bought the naming rights to the arena where Jassy's team will play. But instead of calling it Amazon Arena it is called Climate Pledge Arena.