When Jeff Bezos was Amazon’s CEO, he took a stance on the company’s operations in Washington. He rarely lobbyed lawmakers. He testified only once before Congress under the threat of a subpoena.
Andy Jassy, Bezos’ successor, is trying a different approach.
Since taking over as CEO of Amazon last July, 54-year-old Jassy has visited Washington at least three times and across Capitol Hill to the White House. In September, he met with President Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain. He called on Senator Chuck Schumer, a majority party leader in the Democratic Party, to lobby against antitrust laws, about Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine and Amazon’s new corporate campus in the state. We talked.
“He was very curious,” said Kane, who met Jasie at the Capitol in September and spoke to him on the phone last month. Mr. Kane said he was diplomatic rather than “bowling” with “the power of individuality” and was prepared with knowledge of the mission of the parliamentary committee.
Jasie’s actions in Washington show that Amazon is shaping a new era. The executive who joined the company in 1997 and built the Amazon Web Services cloud computing business has followed Bezos’ footsteps for years and was considered one of his closest lieutenants. Last year’s succession was seen primarily as a continuation of Mr. Bezos’ culture and methods.
However, Jassy quietly left his mark on Amazon and made more changes than many insiders and corporate watchers expected.
He delved into an important part of the business that Bezos imposed on his agents, especially the logistics business. He acknowledged that Amazon needs to be overbuilt, reduce costs, close physical bookstores, and put some warehouse expansion plans on the ice. He has begun a turbulent overhaul of leadership. He repeatedly opposed the company’s union, but came up with a more reconciling tone with Amazon’s 1.6 million employees.
The biggest difference with Mr. Bezos could be the new CEO’s far more practical approach to Washington’s regulatory and political challenges.
Jasie has been working not only to serve customers, but also to scrutinize Amazon’s broader role as an employer and in society, said Matt McKillwayne, managing partner of Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group. Stated.
“I think that’s more important to Andy,” said McKillwayne, who has known Bezos and Jassy for over 20 years. “Jeff has a more liberal way of thinking.”
Mr. Jasie’s efforts may come from inevitability. Political leaders, activists, and scholars are scrutinizing Amazon because of its dominance. The company expanded its lobbying equipment in Washington, spending $ 19.3 million on federal lobbying in 2021, compared to $ 2.2 million ten years ago. According to OpenSecretsTrack the impact in Washington.
Understand Amazon’s unionization efforts
The challenges are increasing. The Federal Trade Commission, led by legal scholar Lina Khan, is investigating whether Amazon violates antitrust law. Last year, Mr Biden cast his support behind Amazon workers who were trying to form a union. Since then, he has hosted the union organizer from the Amazon Warehouse in the Oval Office. And Congress may soon vote on an antitrust bill that makes it harder for Amazon to favor its brand on its site than the brands offered by its competitors.
Amazon spokeswoman Tina Perky Previous company statement “Meet policymakers on both sides of the aisle on policy issues that could affect customers,” said Jasie. The company refused to make Mr. Jasie available for interviews.
Bezos’ ambitions in Washington were previously largely social. His ownership of the Washington Post took him to the city, where he bought a mansion in the Kalorama district. However, Amazon’s Washington office staff sometimes didn’t know when he was in town. The Amazon team, led by former White House spokesman Jay Carney, fought to isolate Bezos from company critics.
Jassy, an undergraduate student at Harvard University who joined a Republican club and recently donated to a business-friendly Democrat, made it a priority to help Amazon quickly navigate the regulatory situation. After Bezos announced that he would resign as Amazon’s chief last year, Jassie summoned a group of company executives for a briefing on the antitrust battle, two people with knowledge of the rally said.
August, Jasie Appeared At the White House Summit on Cyber Security. In September, he crossed Capitol Hill to meet all four parliamentary leaders. He also called for a Democratic Senator in Washington, where Amazon is headquartered, and a Republican Senator in Tennessee, where the company is expanding its logistics business.
Some Democrats have pushed Mr. Jasie to unify and resist the state’s abortion restrictions, said those with knowledge of previously reported conversations. Politico.. Republican leader Kevin McCarthy told Mr. Jasie to focus on manufacturing the product and stay away from controversial political and social issues, with the knowledge of the conference. The person said.
A McCarthy spokesman refused to comment on the meeting.
That same week, Mr. Jasie met Mr. Crane at the White House, two people with knowledge of the conference said. They talked about economic conditions and other issues, one said.
According to White House officials, Mr. Crane regularly met with CEOs and Labor leaders, mostly by phone and sometimes in person.
Amazon’s most pressing regulatory threat is the proposed American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which prevents large digital platforms from giving incentives to their products.
Virginia Senator Mark Warner, one of the bill’s democratic co-sponsors, met with Jasie in Washington in December to discuss China’s impact on the technology. At another conference in Seattle this year, Warner told Jasie that he was concerned about how Amazon could copy the products of merchants using its website.
“We’re probably more involved in these policy disputes with DC than Bezos was the founder,” Warner said.
Amazon opposes the law, claiming that the company is already supporting small businesses selling products on its site. It is said that if the bill is passed, it may be forced to abandon the promise of prompt delivery, which is the core of prime subscription services. Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat behind the bill, called for the idea of ”lying” and “outlawing” Amazon Prime.
Mr Jasie also talked with Amazon’s opposition to the antitrust proposal with Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, who knew by attending lawmakers and Harvard University at the same time, people familiar with the matter said. Jasie told Lymond that he believes Amazon is unfairly targeting its business over Amazon’s concerns about new antitrust laws and regulations in Europe. Lymond has criticized European law for disproportionately affecting tech companies in the United States.
A Commerce Department spokeswoman said he spoke with Jasie in support of the proposed US antitrust law. A spokeswoman refused to comment on their conversation. When Mr. Jasie called on Mr. Schumer to lobby, Mr. Schumer said he supported the antitrust bill, people familiar with their call said.
Daniel Auble, a senior researcher at OpenSecrets, could make Jassy a strong supporter of Amazon as it faces potential federal antitrust proceedings and remains skeptical of its power. He said he had sex.
“Many lobbyists will not be able to sit with most of the leaders of Congress, or even receive calls,” he said. “But of course, Amazon’s CEO can get them all over the phone.”