As Jeff Bezos’s handpicked successor, Andy Jassy took the reins of Amazon in July 2021, making him President and Chief Executive Officer of a $1.74 trillion company with more than 1.4 million employees across the globe. After initially working as a marketing manager for Amazon’s e-commerce business, Jassy served as Bezos’s first technical adviser in the early 2000s and was highly instrumental in leading the company's push outside of book sales. As Bezos's technical advisor, Jassy spent a year or two accompanying Bezos to every meeting, provided a sounding board for the CEO, and even learned how the Amazon boss approaches each decision. Jassy, who joined Amazon in 1997, also helped launch Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2006, which now has nearly a $50 billion annual run rate and is growing exponentially. While holding an executive role in one of the world’s largest companies for more than 20 years, Jassy has still found time to dedicate himself to life outside of Amazon. He is the chairman of Rainier Prep, a charter school in Seattle, and is a part owner of the National Hockey League team The Seattle Kraken. In 2016, Jassy was named a Person of the Year by the Financial Times.
A native of New York, Jassy moved to Massachusetts in 1986 to attend Harvard College. In those early years, he still was uncertain about his future occupation and even imagined that he would go into sportscasting. Still, he showed early signs of business acumen by serving as advertising manager of The Harvard Crimson. Jassy graduated with honors, cum laude, from Harvard College with a degree in government in 1990. Following graduation, Jassy worked for five years before returning to Cambridge for business school. His decision to enroll in Harvard Business School was based on his desire to have the largest possible network of classmates in the professional world. In 1997, Jassy received his Master of Business Administration from Harvard—and didn't have much time to celebrate.
“I took my last final exam at HBS on the first Friday of May in 1997 and I started at Amazon the next Monday," he said during a 2020 HBS podcast. Titled "Overcoming the Capitalist's Dilemma, with Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services," the episode allowed the Harvard community a behind-the-scenes look at Jassy's rise in the Amazon empire.
Today, Jassy is proud that Harvard Business School has played such a vital role in his development and he often tries to make it back to his alma mater, especially for class reunions and various public events. In addition to his podcast appearance at Harvard, Jassy returned in 2013 to discuss the history of Amazon Web Services during a Harvard i-lab Fireside Chat with Michael Skok. He has also delivered talks at both the Harvard Business School Club of Houston (2021) and the Harvard Business School Club of San Francisco (2018). That same year, the Harvard Business School Association of Northern California announced that Jassy was the 49th Annual Business Leader of the Year.