- Amazon Web Services has seen its growth slow down in recent years amid intensifying competition, the COVID-19 pandemic, and simple law of large numbers.
- Business Insider identified and mapped out 95 of the most powerful people under AWS CEO Andy Jassy, who are leading key growth areas at the company.
- They include influential execs such as Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels, and Twitch CEO Emmett Shear, as well as some less familiar names, like Kathrin Buvac, the new vice president of business development, and Matt Garman, the head of sales and marketing.
- Do you work at Amazon? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging apps Signal/Telegram (+1-415-926 -2066) or email ([email protected]).
- Are you an Amazon Web Services employee? Contact reporter Ashley Stewart via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email ([email protected]).
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
For the better part of the past decade, Amazon Web Services was the fastest-growing segment of Amazon, far outpacing the gains in the company's core retail business.
That supercharged expansion, however, has slowed down in recent years, as competition intensified and AWS's sheer scale made it hard to sustain rapid growth. Changes arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have also made things more difficult.
AWS's sales growth dropped to 29% for the second consecutive quarter in the three months that ended in September, the lowest expansion rate since the company started disclosing its cloud revenue in 2015. Amazon's retail business, meanwhile, bounced back to a near-40% growth rate, thanks to the pandemic-fueled demand increase in online shopping. Given AWS accounts for more than half of Amazon's profits, any slowdown in its business is a concern.
AWS CEO Andy Jassy, and the 95 top executives under him (shown below), are in charge of navigating those challenges. These people collectively manage tens of thousands of employees across different teams in Amazon's cloud unit that span roles for sales and marketing, engineering, and game services, as well as a secretive "skunkworks" lab called Grand Challenge.
Business Insider identified the executives based on AWS's organization chart, which is available internally but not to the public.
Many of these execs will speak at AWS's re:Invent conference, which kicked off on Monday. The annual event is being held virtually this year due to the pandemic and will run for three weeks, covering almost every part of Amazon's cloud business.
Amazon representatives didn't respond to a request for comment.
Streamlining sales and biz dev teams
For a business that's on pace to generate over $40 billion in revenue this year, AWS's 29% year-over-year growth rate is nothing to scoff at. At that scale, a sales deceleration is only natural.
But there are reasons to be worried. Competition from other cloud vendors, such as Microsoft and Google, is a growing concern. Evercore Research estimates that Microsoft's Azure to have added more incremental revenue than AWS sequentially for the first time ever in the third quarter.
In the near term, AWS needs to figure out how to deal with the pandemic, as some of its largest customers are cutting back their expenses. Airbnb, for example, recently renegotiated a cloud contract with AWS to give the company more time to reach a $1.2 billion minimum spend. Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky called the cloud business a "mixed bag" during October's earnings call, citing the different usage patterns among its customers.
The org chart reflects AWS's effort to prioritize its business development team, while streamlining its sales and marketing organization this year.
In July, AWS hired Kathrin Buvac, who was previously Nokia's chief strategy officer and enterprise president, to run its business development team. Buvac's responsibilities include finding new business opportunities and strategic partnerships across regulated industries, like energy, manufacturing, and healthcare, and in international markets, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Meanwhile, AWS has reshuffled its sales and marketing organization under Matt Garman, who was promoted to VP of sales & marketing earlier this year. Elaine Chang, VP of AWS China Sales, no longer reports to Jassy and is now under Garman. Greg Pearson, who formerly led AWS Americas sales, has been promoted to VP of worldwide commercial sales, following the departure of Mike Clayville in August. Rachel Thornton is now in charge of AWS's global marketing after her predecessor Ariel Kelman joined Oracle in January.
Recent changes in Garman's organization include the creation of a new "inside sales" team, according to job postings and a person familiar with the matter. Inside sales, according to one job posting is "a new team focused on delighting customers of all sizes, across a number of industries." The primary responsibility for AWS inside sales reps include cross-selling more products and meeting sales quotas, a person familiar said, which is different from other companies that have a more limited scope for similar roles.
Still, by and large, AWS remains a heavy engineering organization, led by high-profile executives, including Peter DeSantis, Charlie Bell, and Werner Vogels.
DeSantis, who recently joined Amazon's most senior leadership team, called the S-team, made big changes to his infrastructure organization beginning in September 2019. Tyson Lamoreaux, the VP formerly in charge of AWS networking, moved to Amazon's satellite broadband initiative Project Kuiper late last year, which prompted the creation of a new group called Network Services. That team, led by Prasad Kalyanaraman, combined Amazon's networking and edge services, such as content delivery service Amazon CloudFront, and Elemental, the video processing startup AWS acquired in 2015.
Bell, one of the longest serving executives at AWS, continues to oversee some of the key business groups, including the EC2 and S3 units. Amazon's CTO Vogels, meanwhile, keeps a relatively small team with just two direct reports under him.
The org chart also shows how AWS is diversifying its business, as it looks to go beyond its core infrastructure business. Larry Augustin, the former CEO of SugarCRM who joined AWS last year, runs a growing team focused on business applications. Michael Frazzini, VP of Game Services and Studios, is in charge of AWS's various game services, including the recently rebranded Prime Gaming unit. Twitch CEO Emmett Shear continues to run his own separate team.
Amazon's secretive moonshot lab, called Grand Challenge, also falls under Jassy's purview organizationally. The team, led by Google Glass creator Babak Parviz, consists of people with experience in the health and hardware fields. Most recently, it added Katie Brenner, cofounder of fertility tracking device startup bluDiagnotics, which Amazon acquired earlier this year.
Meet the 95 most powerful people under AWS CEO Andy Jassy:
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