Jeff Wilke, head of Amazon’s consumer business globally has spent 2 decades at Amazon so far. Yet investors and consumers had never seen him in public. Wilke’s interview by CNBC was the first public appearance on behalf of Amazon since his promotion in 2016. This is in line with Bezos’ attempts to introduce his core team publically.
Bezos has become identifiable with Amazon, like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Few of Amazon’s leaders are recognized outside company walls, unlike other companies, whose leaders are prominently known. Andy Jassy of AWS is now better known but most top execs are pariahs. However, Bezos is changing that. Investors have to know the execs handling their investments and Bezos is increasingly occupied by his other ambitious projects. Tom Forte of DA Davidson stated that Amazon was trying to shed its Bezos only image. He was surprised by Wilke’s interview.
Dave Limp was also interviewed by CNBC. The duo stated Amazon’s commitment to customer satisfaction in its businesses. Jeff Blackburn, Jay Carney, Dave Clark are all part of Bezos’ core team who are now making regular appearances at public events on behalf of Amazon. Forte stated that the company was preparing itself for operations after Bezos leaves.
While Bezos will lead for at least another decade, his bigger-than-life personality could cause a succession issue. However, due to its number of powerful execs and Bezos’ young age, relatively speaking, the company won’t have a big problem. Expansion is at all-time highs at Amazon. Drone delivery and voice tech, movie production, and retail have been under focus at Amazon. It is the 2nd highest valued company, behind Microsoft.
Over time, top executives are expected to turn brand ambassadors, promoting Amazon through public events and meetings. Bezos has his plate full, with Blue Origin, Washington Post and other start-up investment activities. He wants to reassure investors of Amazon’s abilities to survive without him. However, it is tough to see Amazon without Bezos at the driving wheel. When Bezos was asked if he ever got told no, he jokingly stated he did not. However, he then stated that he actively seeks out positive criticism.