- CEOs at some of the biggest tech companies rely on No. 2 execs to help them get the job done.
- Some may go on to run the company one day, while others may leave for big opportunities elsewhere.
- For example, Jeff Bezos’ No. 2, Andy Jassy, has just been named the future CEO of Amazon.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Life at the top of the world’s most valuable tech companies isn’t easy. For CEOs at companies like Apple or Amazon, it means long days and a lot of pressure.
Luckily, most CEOs don’t go it alone: they have a second-in-command, a high-level executive who may shoulder some of that burden. Some of these execs may go on to run the company one day â€” others may leave for big opportunities elsewhere.
Some chief executives may appear to run their companies singlehandedly, like Tesla’s Elon Musk. Others, like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, often lean on the support of their No. 2. In the case of Amazon, a reshuffling in 2021 means CEO Jeff Bezos will step aside in favour of his second-in-command later this year.
Here’s a closer look at the people behind the CEOs of some of the world’s most valuable tech companies.
Up until now, there have been two CEOs who reported directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: Andy Jassy and Dave Clark.
Who they are: Andy Jassy serves as chief executive of AWS; Dave Clark is chief executive of global consumer
In current position since: 2016 and 2021
What they do: Jassy has been at Amazon since the company’s early days and has overseen AWS, Amazon’s cloud computing business. He’s long been one of Bezos’ most trusted advisers. In February 2021, the Amazon CEO announced plans to become executive chairman in the third quarter, with Jassy taking his place as Amazon’s CEO.
Clark will assume the role of consumer chief in early 2021, replacing Jeff Wilke, who announced he’s retiring from Amazon in the first quarter. Wilke was considered the second-most-important person at the company, heading up Amazon’s entire retail side.
Clark, who has been at Amazon since 1999, has been leading the Amazon’s logistics business. He’s been lauded as a visionary leader who had garnered loyal support within Amazon’s ranks.
Apple CEO Tim Cook works closely with Jeff Williams, who is said to be his heir apparent.
Who he is: Apple’s chief operating officer
In current position since: 2015
What he does: Williams is widely considered the second-most important person working at Apple and “the closest thing at the company to Tim Cook.” He currently leads all of Apple’s operations globally and oversees its customer support. Williams was in charge of the development of the Apple Watch, and currently oversees Apple’s design team leaders after the departure of Jony Ive.
Jeremi Gorman works closely with Evan Spiegel to run Snap.
Who she is: Chief business officer at Snap
In current position since: 2018
What she does: Gorman was considered a crucial hire when she joined Snap to build out Snap’s business strategy. She has worked to simplify the company’s approach to its ad business and refocused the company on its Gen Z audience.
Gorman worked at Amazon for six years before joining Snap, overseeing the international expansion of the company’s ad business.
Mark Zuckerberg relies on Sheryl Sandberg for most aspects of Facebook’s business that aren’t related to product.
Who she is: Chief operating officer at Facebook
In current position since: 2008
What she does: Sandberg was brought into Facebook in 2008 to be the “adult in the room,” charged with growing the company’s revenue and ad business – essentially, taking over everything that wasn’t product-related. Since then, Sandberg has become a public face of the company, using that to spread her message of women’s empowerment but also acting as an ambassador of sorts after Facebook has been rocked by scandal after scandal.
According to a new book by Wired’s Steven Levy, CEO Mark Zuckerberg now plans to take a more active role in aspects of the business that were formerly Sandberg’s domain, like policy and content moderation.
Marc Benioff still leads Salesforce, but Keith Block and Bret Taylor have both risen through the ranks.
Who they are: Chief operating officer
In current position since: 2019
What they do: Taylor joined Salesforce after his startup, Quip, was acquired by Salesforce in 2016. Since then, he’s worked his way through the ranks, becoming COO in 2019.
Ted Sarandos has become one of Hollywood’s most important moguls, taking on a co-CEO title in 2020.
Who he is: Chief content officer and co-chief executive officer at Netflix
In current position since: 2000 and 2020, respectively
What he does: Sarandos has been at Netflix for 20 years and currently oversees acquisition and creation of movies and TV series for the streaming giant. He’s one of the highest-paid executives at Netflix, earning as much as CEO Reed Hastings did in 2019. These days, Sarandos is one of the most powerful people in the entertainment world, landing major deals with everyone from Shonda Rhimes to Ryan Murphy to Barack and Michelle Obama.
In July 2020, Netflix announced it has appointed Sarandos co-CEO and named him to the company’s board of directors.
Neal Mohan is YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s No. 2.
Who he is: Chief product officer at YouTube
In current position since: 2015
What he does: Mohan has been at Google since 2008, overseeing Google’s display and video ads business before becoming YouTube’s product head in 2015. These days, Mohan has perhaps the hardest job at the company: He’s in charge of clearing hate speech, exploitation, and extremism off of YouTube.
Mohan was reportedly tasked by Wojcicki with figuring out how to safeguard the service going forward, and appears to be taking on a bigger role in defining the future of the platform.
Google just went through a shake-up of its own, with Sundar Pichai taking the reins of the whole company. Ruth Porat currently serves as the company’s CFO.
Who she is: Chief financial officer at Google
In current position since: 2015
What she does: Porat has served as Alphabet CFO since 2015, overseeing the finances of Google’s parent company. She guided the company through its corporate restructuring and helped get the company’s spending under control. Before joining Alphabet, Porat was widely considered the most powerful woman on Wall Street.
But in December, Alphabet dropped a bombshell when it announced that CEO Larry Page and President Sergey Brin, Google’s founders, were leaving the company and placing Google CEO Sundar Pichai in charge. Since then, no clear second-in-command has emerged, though Porat remains one of the most powerful people at the company.