Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Has a New “Shadow”

Amazon has appointed a former Kindle vice president to be the new technical advisor to CEO Jeff Bezos, a highly coveted position within the company that’s often called Jeff Bezos’s “shadow.” That’s because the person in the role accompanies Mr. Bezos everywhere he goes, including to all meetings, with the aim of learning about all parts of the company.

Jeffrey Helbling, who has been with Amazon for about five years, has been in the job since January, according to his LinkedIn profile and a person familiar with the matter. A former Army captain and longtime McKinsey consultant, he was largely responsible for leading the company’s Kindle subscription efforts. In his previous role, Mr. Helbling was in charge of the launch of Kindle unlimited, Comixology unlimited, and Prime Reading services.

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Mr. Bezos has historically filled the position with people who are already senior managers. Ms. Renz, for instance, joined Amazon in 1999 and previously ran Quidsi, which operates diapers.com. Jay Marine, another former Kindle VP, spent over a decade at Amazon before taking on the position in 2013. Mr. Helbling has been at Amazon for only a little over five years, suggesting he has been singled out early.

Amazon’s representative wasn’t immediately available for comment.

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The appointment suggests Mr. Helbling is on the fast track at Amazon. Previous occupants of the role have gone on to important roles at the company.