Skip to content

Amazon Innovates by Employing 3 CEOs

Lionseye insights from AC Lion

Big Tech Company Amazon Innovates by Employing 3 CEOs



Well known for innovation and staying on the cutting-edge, has now adopted a new strategy for internal management of the company. When announced that two of their long-term executives Andy Jassy and Jeff Wilke were given the title of CEO, while Jeff Bezos continues to carry the title, many heads began to turn in the business administration world.

Having multiple CEOs in a company is not a common phenomenon. However, it does appear to be the emerging strategy for a multitude of companies. While some would argue that having multiple CEOs is a logistic and management nightmare, others believe it is the management strategy of the future.  That is why other innovative companies like Oracle have installed a co-CEO system. Many other companies have followed suit, including Chipotle, Whole Foods, Deutsche Bank, and more. Even the major mobile company Samsung has three CEO’s.

The reason this has been an effective strategy for multiple companies is because the CEOs are in charge of distinctly different areas within the company. It is common that businesses today delve into multiple realms of revenue. Amazon for instance is involved with many devices, media, gaming, cloud technologies, and logistics. The diversification of the company has required expertise in many different fields. This is what has prompted the company to install three different CEOs, cooperation.

Still think it is a bad idea? Here are four reasons I believe employing multiple CEOs is the best management strategy:


  1. More Expertise Available

Having multiple CEOs is not a hindrance, it actually helps by having more experience readily available. Just think about it for a moment. Would you rather have one person who knows a little bit about everything, or several leaders that know a lot about a few things? Having multiple CEOs may seem like a weird concept, but really businesses are already doing it. There are many leaders in multiple sections of a company, a hierarchy that ultimately reports to the CEO. The advantage of having multiple CEOs means that you can have an expert at the head  of each department, making it easier for a business to diversify, and having an appropriate leader for each portion of the business.

  1. Transparency and Visibility

Another advantage of having multiple CEOs is the potential for direct client engagement. CEOs are often thought to be unreachable figureheads of the company, ones that only make an appearance for high profile events. With multiple CEOs however, each CEO can meet a multitude of different clients in different locations. Clients respond to this kind of visibility positively. It helps take away the air of mystery and makes a potential client feel more valued and involved.

  1. Internal Communication

Anyone in business knows that communication is a pivotal part of success. Another advantage of having multiple CEOs is that it makes internal communication among staff much easier. Think about the telephone game. Every time a message is relayed from another source, it gets muddled and messed up. With multiple CEOs, everyone in the company can receive the information directly from the source, allowing for clearer communication and more productivity. The key to this method working is to have a clear hierarchy of authority for the CEOs.

Keep in mind, however, that a 3 CEO leadership model is more efficient for internal communication only if communications are (i) aligned for the group/company, and (ii) well separated for each of the business lines the CEOs are responsible for. CEOs’ voices must not overlap with contradictory visions or unbalanced leadership power.

  1. Persuasion Skills

Two heads are better than one, and three, even more so. While one CEO can demand attention, imagine how much respect three CEOs would garner. There is an inherent strength in numbers. When CEOs travel in packs, they tend to be more persuasive. So if you want to make a big impression on specific clients, sending all three of your CEOs will certainly have a lasting impact.

The 3 CEO model also has the advantage of having a built-in backup system. In the traditional model, if a CEO falls ill or leaves the company, there is suddenly no figurehead for the company. The 3 CEO model means the company always has a readily available substitute if something goes wrong. These are examples of only a few advantages the 3 CEO model offers.

Do you have any pros and/or cons to having multiple CEOs? Share in the comments below!