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Beyond Bezos: Amazon’s prime movers face a tricky transition

IbyIMD+ Published 5 July 2021 in Technology • 7 min read

Jeff Bezos will find the move from CEO to Chairman of the Board far from easy. Didier Cossin and Michael Watkins offer advice on avoiding the pitfalls. 

As Jeff Bezos is soon to learn, the qualities that make a great CEO do not necessarily make a great Chairman of the Board (hereafter Chair), even when a leader like Bezos has previously played both roles. As Andy Jassy takes the helm as CEO of Amazon, Bezos would do well to reflect on how focusing purely on being Chair is quite a different game. 

For a start, it’s not easy to give up the CEO role and focus exclusively on being Chair. Why? Because many CEOs struggle to stop wielding executive power and “over-manage” the new CEO, setting up potentially dysfunctional battles over influence and decision-making. This is not surprising, given that executive ability and the need to “run the show” is what gets CEOs to the top in the first place. That’s why many corporate governance experts consider it inadvisable to move…

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