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February 5, 2021

“Great move”: Amazon employees react to Andy Jassy replacing Jeff Bezos

By Robert Scammell

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is known for installing a culture of high performance at the ecommerce giant. But with Bezos stepping down this year, what will work-life balance be like under new chief executive Andy Jassy?

According to a poll by anonymous professional network Blind, 90% of the 516 Amazon employees who responded expect work-life balance to improve under Jassy’s leadership.

However, tech industry workers as a whole expect the opposite, with 88% not expecting work-life balance at the company to improve with Jassy at the helm.

As one of the most successful companies on Earth, Amazon’s work culture has faced intense scrutiny.

Among the most well-known practices enforced by Bezos is the ‘two pizza rule’. This stipulates that each in-house team working on growth areas must be small enough to be fed with just two pizzas, with the idea being that smaller teams can work more productively.

More notorious is Amazon’s personal improvement plans, or PIPs. Employees that found themselves on PIP were effectively in danger of being fired and the tool drew complaints over managers abusing their power.

However, in 2017 Amazon rolled out a new coaching programme in response to criticism.

One former Amazon employee told the Blind network: “I was a top performer at Amazon. Still got piped. One of the worst companies to work for. After I left Amazon, I made more money, more peace, more work-life balance.”

According to Blind, Amazon has a score of 55% for work-life balance.

Andy Jassy: “Amazon’s Satya”

Bezos, who launched Amazon in 1994 and grew it into a company that brought in revenue of $386.1bn in 2020, said he will remain involved with “important Amazon initiatives”.

The second-richest person in the world said he intends to spend more time on other projects such as “the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions”.

Jassy, who has been at Amazon since 1997, will take the reins in the third quarter of this year. He helped set up and has lead the company’s cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services (AWS), since 2006.

Blind’s network indicates optimism about Jassy’s appointment, both from Amazon workers and the tech industry as a whole.

Another survey by Blind found that 51% of the 1,598 Amazon workers who responded thought Jassy’s appointment as CEO was a “good decision”. Just 7% responded that it was a “bad decision”.

One Amazon employee said “Great move, Amazon’s Satya”, in reference to Microsoft’s chief executive Satya Nadella who took over as CEO in 2014.

Among tech industry workers, 42% of those than responded to the survey believe that Jassy replacing Bezos is the right move.

One LinkedIn employee said: “From the earnings call they mentioned Jeff will be engaged in one-way decisions, business strategy, entering new markets. These are all the things he is bloody exceptionally good at. 3-4 hours of his daily time exclusively focusing on these things is orders of magnitude better than him having to spend a lot of time dealing with day to day responsibilities of being a CEO.

“I may be in the minority but under this new structure, I actually expect Amazon to be even more lethal than what it is now.”


Read more: What will Jeff Bezos do after stepping down as Amazon CEO?


 

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