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Amazon Prepares CEO Succession

Amazon has selected a replacement for CEO Jeff Bezos, Bezos told an audience Tuesday (Dec. 2), but the identity is confidential.

Recode, however, published its list of most likely candidates for who the secret successor is. The top candidate is reportedly Jeff Wilke, the exec in charge of the North American consumer business. Biz Dev chief Jeff Blackburn "is another longtimer who is part of Bezos’s inner circle of trusted advisers," the story said.

Amazon Web Services chief Andy Jassy is another possibility. "AWS is among Bezos’s top interests inside Amazon, making Jassy a possibility."

Another possibility, according to Recode, is David Limp who runs Amazon's hardware operations, from Kindle to the Amazon Echo. "Bezos loves Amazon's device business."

A name that wasn't on Recode's list is the highest-paid employee at Amazon: Diego Piacentini, Snr. VP for the International Consumer Business. Although he only makes $175K—Bezos himself has a salary of $81,840—that is higher than anyone else. Second is Wilke, at $165K, followed by Jassy at $160K. Money isn't everything—for any of these execs, stock price speaks to the overwhelming majority of their compensations—but it's hard to not have Piacentini on the list. Piacentini also owns more shares of Amazon stock than any Amazon employee, other than Bezos. (Piacentini owns 126,146 shares, according to the latest Proxy statement, which is considerably more than the next-highest employee: Wilke, with 72,913 shares. Bezos kind of has more: 83,962,332 shares.)

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