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Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Has Chosen an Heir Apparent

Four potential successors come to mind right away.

Asa Mathat
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

At 50 years old, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said he’s having so much fun that he still dances into the office each morning. But for perhaps the first time publicly, Bezos acknowledged today that he has chosen a successor to take over when he leaves the top job.

“There is a succession plan,” Bezos said in an onstage interview on Tuesday with Henry Blodget, CEO of Business Insider, in which Bezos is an investor. “There is someone who would take over.”

Blodget, of course, asked Bezos to divulge who it is. Bezos didn’t budge, calling it a “secret,” before releasing his trademark bellowing laugh.

Here’s who we’re shortlisting:

Jeff Wilke is the first name that comes to mind. A former Amazon exec told me recently that Wilke is the only employee at Amazon who is truly “irreplaceable.” He has been with Amazon forever and runs the entire consumer business. He previously ran the core e-commerce business in North America and has also run operations and customer service. He knows Amazon as well as anyone.

Jeff Blackburn is another longtimer who is part of Bezos’s inner circle of trusted advisers. He runs business development, which encompasses a lot of things, including acquisitions. He has also run product development and operations.

Andy Jassy has one of the most high-profile roles at Amazon right now, running the giant, fast-growing Amazon Web Services cloud computing business. AWS is among Bezos’s top interests inside Amazon, making Jassy a possibility.

David Limp runs the hardware business at Amazon, overseeing the development of everything from the Kindle to the Fire phone to the new Amazon Echo device. Bezos loves Amazon’s device business.

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