In 1994, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (Jeff Bezos) introduced one of the biggest success stories in modern business history. It started as a strict online bookstore and slowly evolved into a supplier with hundreds of different product lines. This helped Amazon (AMZN) grow into a global e-commerce and cloud computing giant with a market value of US$1.8 trillion as of July 22, 2021.
Bezos is widely praised as a visionary in the field of e-commerce. But his success is largely due to the management team, who helped develop many of Amazon’s islands and promote the company’s rapid growth.
Below, we have outlined the profiles of Amazon’s founders and the company’s six executives. We focused on their various roles at Amazon, their contributions to the company, previous positions in other companies, and their educational background.
- Since launching Amazon in 1994, founder Jeff Bezos has grown the company into a large global company with a market value of nearly US$1.8 trillion.
- Bezos’ success is largely due to his management team.
- Bezos is one of the richest people in the world. As of July 22, 2021, his net worth is estimated at US$206 billion.
Jeffrey P. Bezos
- Current position: Executive Chairman
- Joining Amazon: Founding the company in 1994
- Education: Princeton University Electrical Engineering and Computer Science BSE
Jeff Bezos currently serves as the executive chairman of Amazon and will step down as chief executive officer (CEO) in July 2021.
In 1994, he founded Amazon as an online bookstore in the garage of a Seattle rental house. Since then, it has grown into one of the largest companies in the world. From cloud computing to groceries, to advertising to healthcare, Amazon has its own presence in almost every major industry.
Under his leadership, Amazon launched Amazon Prime in 2005. When the retail industry’s standard is as long as 6 days, it provides two-day delivery services for more than 1 million items. Amazon Prime has since increased access to video and music streaming media, and currently has more than 150 million subscribers worldwide. In 2006, Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing platform was launched under the guidance of Bezos. He also helped Amazon set up its own delivery and logistics business. By July 2020, Amazon has delivered nearly two-thirds of its own packages.
Before founding Amazon, Bezos worked at a telecommunications startup called Fitel. He also worked at Banker’s Trust (now part of Deutsche Bank) and hedge fund DE Shaw.
- Current position: President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
- Joined Amazon: 1997
- Educational background: Harvard University AB and Harvard Business School MBA
Andy Jassy is currently the president and CEO of Amazon, and most recently succeeded Bezos in July 2021. He also serves as a member of the board of directors. Jassy is considered the founder of AWS. He has been leading AWS since its establishment in 2006-including serving as CEO from April 2016 until July 2021.
Under his leadership, AWS has become the most widely used cloud platform. As of the end of the first quarter of 2021, it has a 32% share of the $150 billion global cloud market. AWS is the company’s most profitable main business.
Jassy’s success is attributed to his ability to attract a range of different types of businesses and organizations to the AWS cloud platform, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Democratic National Committee, Pinterest Inc., Lyft Inc., etc. He first joined the company in 1997 and held various leadership positions before founding AWS.
Brian T. Olsavsky
- Current position: Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
- Joining Amazon: April 2002
- Education: Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University and Master of Business Administration in Finance from Carnegie Mellon University
Brian Olsavsky first joined Amazon in the spring of 2002 and has served as Senior Vice President (SVP) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) since June 2015. He is responsible for overseeing Amazon’s overall financial activities, including taxation, finance, investor relations, internal audit and other financial operations.
Prior to his current position, Olsavsky was Amazon’s vice president of finance (VP) and the company’s global consumer business chief financial officer. In these positions, he is responsible for overseeing the company’s website and merchant services, as well as performing operations and subsidiaries.
Olsavsky also served as vice president of finance for Amazon’s North American retail business unit and acquisitions from 2007 to 2010. He was responsible for the finance department of Amazon’s global operations organization from 2002 to 2007.
Before joining Amazon, Olsavsky held finance and other positions at Fisher Scientific, BF Goodrich, and Union Carbide.
David H. Clark
- Current position: Chief Executive Officer of Global Consumers
- Joined Amazon: 1999
- Education: Bachelor of Music Education from Auburn University and Master of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee
David Clark is the CEO of Amazon’s Global Consumer Division, a position he has held since January 2021. He joined Amazon after graduating from business school in 1999, starting with the Pathways leadership development program. He has held multiple positions, including senior vice president of global operations, vice president of global operations, vice president of global customer fulfillment, and vice president of North American operations.
Clark played a key role in Amazon’s $775 million acquisition of Kiva Systems Inc. in 2012, which was the second largest transaction in Amazon’s history at the time. Robots made by Kiva can locate products in Amazon warehouses and bring these products to warehouse workers. Clark also helped the company create its own air freight network in 2016.
Shelley L. Reynolds
- Current position: Vice President, Global Director
- Joining Amazon: February 2006
- Educational background: Bachelor’s degree, Foster School of Business, University of Washington
Shelley Reynolds is the Vice President of Global Control, and she is responsible for overseeing Amazon’s global accounting function. She joined the company for the first time in February 2006 as the vice president of finance and chief financial officer.
A year later, she was promoted to vice president, global financial director and chief accounting officer. Reynolds has been a key manager helping Amazon develop an accounting system that can scale with Amazon’s amazing growth. Before joining the company, she worked for Deloitte & Touche LLP for 19 years and was a partner from 1998 to 2006.
- Current position: CEO of Amazon Web Services
- Join Amazon: 2005
- Educational background: Harvard University AB and Harvard Business School MBA
Adam Selipsky is the CEO of AWS and recently succeeded Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy. Unlike some other executives, Celipsky’s tenure at Amazon is not continuous. He first joined the company in 2005 as the vice president of marketing, sales, and support for AWS, a position he held until September 2016.
During these 11 years, he played a key role in helping to build AWS. But in 2016, Selipsky left Amazon to become the president and chief executive officer of Tableau, a provider of data analysis software as a service (SaaS). He held these positions until his return to Amazon in May 2021. Before joining Amazon, he held various positions at Internet streaming company RealNetworks Inc. and served as the head of strategic consulting company Mercer Management Consulting.
David A. Zapolsky
- Current position: Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
- Joining Amazon: November 1999
- Educational background: Bachelor of Music from Columbia University and Doctor of Law from the University of California, Berkeley
David Zapolsky has served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary since May 2014. In the past year, he has played a key role in advising Amazon on many matters involving various legal issues, including reviewing the company’s competitive practices and union work.
Zapolsky previously served as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary since September 2012. Prior to this, after joining Amazon in November 1999, he was promoted to Deputy General Counsel in April 2002, serving as Deputy General Counsel for Litigation and Regulatory Affairs. Before joining Amazon, he worked as a partner in the Seattle offices of Dorsey & Whitney and Bogle & Gates, as an assistant district attorney in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, and as a practicing lawyer at Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz.