- Andy Jassy is stepping into the shoes of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the second-richest person.
- The AWS chief’s stock is worth $270 million, but he’d be a billionaire if he’d sold fewer shares.
- Insider looked at 14 years of insider transaction filings for Jassy and did the math.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Andy Jassy is about to succeed Jeff Bezos, the second-richest person, as Amazon’s CEO.
The chief executive of Amazon Web Services is far from being a billionaire. He owns $270 million in stock (more than any Amazon employee except Bezos). But Jassy would be a member of the three-comma club if he hadn’t sold nearly half a million shares since AWS launched in 2006.
Insider looked at Jassy’s insider transaction filings for the past 15 years and found that the 460,000 shares he sold would be worth $1.5 billion today. His Amazon stock overall would be worth $1.8 billion, based off Amazon’s share price as of 1 p.m. ET on February 8.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.
The 53-year-old netted an estimated $162 million post-tax from stock sales and likely invested most of the proceeds. His 375-plus transactions were executed using a 10b5-1 trading plan, which allows insiders of publicly traded companies to schedule stock sales in advance to avoid accusations of insider trading.
His last transaction was in November, when he sold just over 1,000 shares, netting him $2.6 million. In the same filing, he gifted some shares to his wife and a trust. The wealth manager Kenneth Van Leeuwen told Insider the trust was likely a grantor-retained annuity trust, which would allow Jassy to pass shares to his children while minimizing tax liabilities.
Jassy isn’t known for splashy purchases other than a $6.7 million Santa Monica, California, home and a minority stake in the forthcoming NHL team the Seattle Kraken.
If Amazon had underperformed the market, Jassy would have looked brilliant for selling his shares, Cameron Newton, the founder of the venture-capital firm Relevance Ventures and a former investment banker, told Insider, but “the reality is Amazon’s outperformed just about everything.” For Jassy’s diversified portfolio to perform at the same rate, it would have had to match Amazon’s nearly 8,500% surge since Jassy’s first publicly disclosed stock sale in November 2006.
Newton said Jassy was likely selling to diversify his portfolio, not out of a lack of confidence in the company.
The market will be watching when Jassy sells again
Most of the lost stock value comes from sales made from 2006 through early 2012, when he netted $31 million from selling shares that would be worth $1 billion today. The lowest price that Jassy sold shares at was $39.33; Amazon’s stock now tops $3,300.
“It’s easy to look behind and say, ‘You should have held that,'” Van Leeuwen said. “We know there were years when Amazon struggled.”
Until the succession announcement last week, Jassy was hardly famous outside tech circles. Now his every move, including his stock transactions, will be examined under a microscope.
“As CEO, he’s going to be under greater scrutiny when he sells,” Newton said. “What he wants to avoid is selling a big block of stock in front of earnings or signaling to the market that something’s amiss with Amazon. One great thing is that he has a pattern of selling stock in the past, and he can point to that.”
Jassy’s compensation as CEO has not been made public yet. He could become a billionaire in a matter of years.
“He’s young in relation to the stock,” Van Leeuwen said. “If he’s successful, he’s got a good runway ahead of him.”