16 minutes News

16 Minutes #54: Beyond Bezos — Amazon, Cloud, and CEO Transitions

Martin Casado, Zoran Basich, and Sonal Chokshi

Posted February 6, 2021

Amazon just announced this week that its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos “will transition to the role of Executive Chair in the third quarter of 2021 and [CEO of Amazon Web Services] Andy Jassy will become Chief Executive Officer at that time.” So in this episode of 16 Minutes — our show where we talk about tech trends in the headlines, what’s hype/ what’s real, and where we are on the long arc of innovation — we talk not just about this news, but what it signals regarding cloud computing as well as CEO transitions in general. 

How does/ doesn’t it fit into other patterns of tech succession — like recent moves at Netflix (where Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos was named co-CEO alongside Reed Hastings); Microsoft (Satya Nadella); Intel (Pat Geisinger); Cisco and more? Is Amazon — with its ability to straddle both enterprise and consumer so strongly — an outlier, and perhaps more of a conglomerate? And are there certain inflection points or phases for when companies of all sizes should think about succession planning/such leadership transitions? Sonal Chokshi and Zoran Basich chat with a16z General Partner Martin Casado — who was previously cofounder and CTO at Nicira (which was acquired by VMware, where he became GM of the Networking and Security Business Unit) — so Casado knows a thing or two about such transitions … not to mention his own past debates and discussions of whether or not to bring on an external CEO.