The Four Key Players Who Actually Run Amazon

Amazon is more than just Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy.

A collage of four men in suits.
Jeff Bezos (top left), Andy Jassy (top right), Adam Selipsky (bottom left) and Doug Herrington. Getty Images

Amazon (AMZN) is one of the only five companies in the world worth more than $1 trillion, with its business spanning retail, advertising, cloud computing and transportation. Although most consumers associate the tech giant with its founder and longtime CEO Jeff Bezos, the company actually has three people with the title CEO overseeing different parts of its business. And all of them are fairly new in their positions.

Amazon has two main business units:, officially known as Worldwide Amazon Stores, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world’s largest corporate cloud service provider. Due to the different nature of the two businesses, each unit has its own CEO who reports to a group president and CEO.

In February 2021, Bezos announced his retirement after 27 years at the helm and kickstarted a C-suite shakeup. Andy Jassy, the former head of AWS, stepped up to replace Bezos, while Bezos retained his chairman role. Amazon hired back a former executive to fill Jassy’s vacancy. And a year later, Amazon’s retail division had a new leader as well.

Here are the four key people making important decisions at Amazon right now:

Jeff Bezos, 59, executive chair

For nearly three decades, Jeff Bezos was the face of Amazon, making headlines frequently for his unique business philosophies and more recently his personal drama. In July 2021, the founder and longtime CEO stepped down to focus on other ventures, but Bezos still holds considerable control of Amazon as its executive chairman, the highest-ranking person in the company.

Compensation: Bezos owns about 10 percent of Amazon. He collects an annual salary of $81,840 (even after his semi-retirement) and $1.6 million in payments related to personal security arrangements. In a regulatory filing, Amazon said the security costs are reasonable for Bezos “in light of his low salary and the fact that he has never received any stock-based compensation.”

Andy Jassy, 53, CEO and President

Andy Jassy, the former head of AWS, took over as Amazon CEO in July 2021 following Bezos’s exit. Jassy is one of Amazon’s earliest employees, working closely with Bezos in the company’s early years.

Jassy joined Amazon in 1997 as a marketer when it was a little-known, three-year-old startup. In 2006, Jassy founded AWS to offer IT infrastructure services to businesses when cloud computing was still an obscure idea. Despite having little technical background, Jassy is known as a manager who understands technical topics well and is adept at explaining complex ideas to laypeople.

Compensation: Jassy earned a total of $1.3 million in 2022 in his first full year as CEO. His pay included $317,000 in base salary and roughly $1 million in security-related payments. Like many Big Tech executives, he has a multi-year equity package that allows him to claim giant stock awards in some years. In 2021, for example, he made $212.7 million, of which 212 million was equity.

Doug Herrington, CEO of Worldwide Amazon Stores

Doug Herrington is the head of Amazon’s online and physical retail business. He was promoted to this position in July 2022 after his predecessor, Dave Clark, resigned to join Flexport, a supply chain software startup, as CEO.

Herrington joined Amazon in 2005 in its consumer business. He led the launch of AmazonFresh in 2007 and began leading Amazon’s North American consumer business in 2015. Herrington developed and launched several key programs at Amazon, including its popular loyalty program.

Compensation: Herrington was the highest-paid Amazon executive last year. He received $43.2 million in total compensation, including $310,000 in base salary and nearly $41 million in stock awards.

Adam Selipsky, 56, CEO of Amazon Web Services

Adam Selipsky succeeded Jassy as the head of AWS in July 2021 after the latter was promoted to CEO. Selipsky worked at Amazon’s cloud unit for 11 years between 2005 and 2016 (the company’s growth years). He left in 2016 to be the CEO of Tableau, a data visualization software company.

In March 2021, he made a surprise return to Amazon after the AWS chief position became vacant as a result of the C-suite shakeup.

Compensation: Selipsky was the second highest-earning executive last year. He made a total of $41 million, including $317,500 in base salary, $40.8 million in stock awards and $43,000 in security-related payments, according to Amazon’s 2022 proxy filing.

The Four Key Players Who Actually Run Amazon