An amazon.com fulfillment center in Las Vegas, NV. Image Credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com
Amazon can’t stay out of the news lately.
Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced his plan to step down from top role at the company on July 5 at an annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday. His longtime lieutenant Andy Jassy has been named his successor. Other top executives also announced their exits this year, and in the case of Jeff Blackburn, came right back.
Amazon is a monolith of a company and its org chart is a complex web of different departments, businesses and studios. There are over 10,000 employees and it is the second most-followed company on The Org.
We zoomed into three of the biggest core businesses at Amazon to get a glimpse of who is in charge of what at one of the largest companies on the planet.
Amazon has a network of offices around the world, with its core hub located in Seattle, Washington. The company has more than 75,000 people employed across its facilities in the Puget Sound area, including corporate offices, fulfillment centers, an air hub at SeaTac airport and more than 15 Amazon and Whole Foods physical stores.
Its second hub on the East Coast is currently being built in Arlington, Virginia. The new hub is slated to bring over 25,000 new jobs to the area, which the company says are mostly tech- or corporate-related.
Inside the ever-evolving company, three of the core businesses are: Amazon Web Services, currently led by Andy Jassy and soon to be led by Adam Selipsky; the Worldwide Consumer team, led by David Clark; and Prime Video and Amazon Studios, led by Mike Hopkins and soon to fall under the jurisdiction of Jeff Blackburn on his returns.
Amazon Web Services - The Money Maker
Andy Jassy joined Amazon in 1997 and has led Amazon Web Services, a cloud software and data center provider, since its inception. AWS continues to be the main source of profit for the company.
Tableau CEO Adam Selipisky will return to AWS after Jassy takes over as CEO. Selpisky is a former AWS executive who spent 11 years at the company, leaving in 2016 to join Tableau Software. In his time at Amazon, Selipisky worked closely with Jassy in his role as VP of Marketing, Sales and Support at AWS.
VP of Sales & Marketing Matt Garman leads a global team of sales and marketing experts and was considered a potential successor to Jassy to run the AWS team. Garman has spent 14 years on the web services team, previously serving as VP of AWS Compute Services. In fact, he started at AWS as a business school intern in 2006, the year of its launch.
Standouts on this team include Brian Taptitch, VP, Worldwide Specialist Organization at AWS. Taptitch has a long career in the gaming industry and was previously VP of AWS Game Tech. Before that, he was CEO of software company Bitcasa, as well as VP of International at Zynga.
There’s also James Hamilton, VP & Distinguished Engineer. Hamilton has been with the AWS team for 12 years, joining the company after more than a decade at Microsoft. Hamilton was also an early software engineer, joining IBM as Lead Architect in 1986.
Amazon Worldwide Services - The Online Superstore
Perhaps the most recognizable part of Amazon’s brand, the Worldwide Consumer team includes the online and physical stores that Amazon has exponentially grown over the past decade.
Currently led by David Clark, the team handles everything under the umbrella of the Amazon Store (including Amazon Prime) and has now expanded to having its own brick-and-mortar 4-star stores, ownership over Whole Foods Market, and new projects such as Amazon Go, Amazon Go Grocery, Amazon Fresh and Amazon Books.
On the commerce side of the website, Muge Eridirik Dogan plays a key role in Amazon’s efforts to draw brands to the e-commerce giant as President of Amazon Fashion. Dogan has been with the company for 13 years, leading teams in both technology and operations for baby and beauty products.
But Amazon is ultimately known for its ultra-fast delivery methods, a key perk of its Prime membership. Maintaining this reputation is the Transportation Services team, led by David Bozeman. His team includes Amazon Air, Sort Center Networks and the Line Haul Team, and is essentially responsible for every facet of transportation that Amazon packages go through -- from fulfillment centers to doorsteps. Bozeman brings past experience from Caterpillar, where he served in various executive positions, as well as serving as VP of Advanced Manufacturing at Harley-Davidson.
Amazon plans to stay on the cutting-edge of the future of deliveries, and its development of Amazon Air is a huge testament to its ambitious attitude. Led by David Carbon, a long-time executive at Boeing, the Prime Air team is designing the future drone delivery service with the goal of delivering packages to customers in 30 minutes or less. Full of aviation, robotics, hardware and software and manufacturing experts, Prime Air received FAA approval back in August but is yet to be fully operational in any U.S. city.
Amazon Studios - The Hollywood Disruptor
The premium price for the fading Hollywood icon comes as Amazon Prime Video feels the pressure from competitors crowding the market, including HBOMax, Disney+ and Paramount+.
Currently captained by Mike Hopkins, SVP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, the film and television section of the company is getting reorganized into one streamlined unit, which will fall under former SVP of Business Development Jeff Blackburn on his return to the company.
Starting June 7, Blackburn’s new role will place him in charge of all of Amazon’s entertainment ventures, including Prime Video and Amazon Studios, Amazon Music, Wondery, Audible and Twitch. In a company memo, Hopkins said: “Jeff will not only be a great ally and supporter; he will help achieve synergies across our media and entertainment businesses.”
The reshuffling of this new operation isn’t yet clear, but there are already standouts in the entertainment businesses that are sure to bring industry expertise and strategy to the newly-created entertainment conglomerate. Mike Hopkins, who currently leads Prime Video and Amazon Studios, has over 20 years of experience at Fox, Hulu and Sony. Hopkins was CEO at Hulu when The Handmaid’s Tale won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series -- the first streaming platform to win an Emmy award.
Amazon Studios Head Jennifer Salke works on film and TV strategy. Over the past two years, Salke has more than doubled the number of the studio’s local originals from 26 to 56, and she has managed to draw in A-List talent, scoring production deals with Nicole Kidman, Lizzo, Jordan Peele and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
On the TV side of things, Vernon Sanders works with COO and Co-Head of Television Albert Cheng to oversee all scripted and unscripted content, including the Emmy-Award-winning series “Fleabag” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Sanders is an NBCUniversal alum, where he’s worked on shows such as “This Is Us,” “The Good Place” and “Superstore,” while Cheng spent 14 years at Disney, eventually becoming EVP and Chief Product Officer of Digital Media at ABC.
Running alongside original content on Amazon’s streaming platform are classic favorites. Brad Beale works to bring blockbuster films and binge-worthy TV series to the platform as VP Worldwide Content Acquisition for Prime Video. Beale is a content acquisition veteran that has also spent 11 years at DIRECTV, most recently serving as SVP of Product Development and New Media.
Getting the content from Amazon Studios in Culver City to the masses is Ukonwa Ojo, Global CMO of Prime Video and Amazon Studios. Ojo was hired in September 2020 and most recently was CMO for MAC Cosmetics, where she oversaw brand positioning in markets around the world. Prior to that, she was CMO of consumer beauty at Coty and SVP at COVERGIRL.
Rounding out the entertainment sector of Amazon’s vast empire is Worldwide Head of Music Bob Bowen. Bowen’s been on the job for the past five years, and is responsible for Amazon Studios’ music strategy, partnerships and licensing for original content (not to be confused with Amazon’s music streaming platform and Apple and Spotify competitor Amazon Music).
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