Leadership

Meet the 2 men who support the CEOs of Amazon and Whole Foods

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David Ryder | Getty Images

When Amazon recently announced its plans to buy Whole Foods, the grocery industry's stocks spiraled while Whole Foods and Amazon watched their respective stocks climb. The $13.7 billion deal marks Amazon's biggest acquisition ever, but plenty question why the seemingly inorganic relationship makes sense.

And with the deal less than a week old, now's a great time to take a look at the No. 2 leaders at each company who helped make the Amazon and Whole Foods merger a reality.

Hiring consulting company Topgrading gathered a list of the executives who support the most powerful CEOs of 25 American companies. The list featured Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy and Whole Foods president and chief operating officer A.C. Gallo. Both have been at their respective companies for at least 20 years and have played key roles in the companies' growth.

Here are the two individuals who help Amazon and Whole Foods operate:

Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy

Jeff Bezos' protege and second-in-command at the company Andy Jassy runs the company's fastest growing division and boosted Amazon into its most profitable quarter ever.

Topgrading

At the Amazon Web Services Summit earlier this year, Jassy said the key to the company's success is its encouragement toward risk-taking, innovation and willingness to fail, reports Business Insider.

In 2016, Jassy was Amazon's highest-earning executive, surpassing even Bezos' salary. Jassy gave the example of the risk Amazon took when launching its Marketplace in 2000, a competitor to eBay.

"You are much better off cannibalizing yourself, or being ahead of whatever direction the world is headed," Jassy said. In the first quarter of 2017, Marketplace made up half of all paid items on Amazon.

Notably, Bezos has a second CEO who reports to him, Jeff Wilke, the CEO of Worldwide Consumer. Both Wilke and Jassy were promoted to their roles in 2016, according to Fortune.

Whole Foods President and Chief Operating Officer A.C. Gallo

Amazon still lags behind rival giant Walmart in the grocery category. But by acquiring Whole Foods, Amazon will expand its brick-and-mortar presence and help the grocer compete in the natural foods market it popularized.

Topgrading

In Whole Foods' 2017 second quarter earnings call, Gallo noted the grocer is still struggling with offering competitive prices for its products.

Gallo has prioritized smaller food suppliers to ensure access to the brand's nationwide network of stores this year. But this might change after the acquisition.

The deal between Amazon and Whole Foods is expected to close in the second half of the year and the store will reportedly continue to operate under the Whole Foods brand.

In an employee town hall on Monday, Mackey said, "When this deal closes, we're all Amazon people. We're not Whole Foods people and Amazon people. We're all Amazon people. We're one — one large tribe, one large family."

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