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Vice President of European Retail,
Amazon Europe, Luxembourg
It was a letter that Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos wrote to shareholders shortly after the online retailer’s 1997 public offering that inspired Greg Greeley, MBA 98, to change jobs.
In the letter, Bezos outlined his core management beliefs, which include focusing relentlessly on the customer, making bold investment bets even when others say they’re unreasonable, and making decisions based on the long-term rather than quarterly expectations. “That letter is what tipped me over the edge to go work for Amazon,” says Greeley, who left Sun Microsystems for Amazon in 1999. “These weren’t words on a paper. They were committed to it.”
Greeley, now Amazon’s vice president of European retail, remains committed to the vision, which he believes has trickled down the Amazon ranks and applies in any economic environment.
The former vice president of Amazon’s North America books and magazines businesses, Greeley relocated to Luxembourg in 2007 with his wife and three daughters. He now runs retail and marketing operations for Amazon. co.uk, Amazon.de, and Amazon.fr, working with vendors, launching new product categories, and considering new business initiatives in the UK, Germany, and France.
“We develop programs tailored to the European market – and we also make sure that anything that resonates with US customers is deployed here as rapidly as we can do it,” he says.
An international finance class taught by Rich Lyons (now dean of the Haas School) as the Asian financial crisis erupted in mid-1997 has been particularly relevant to Greeley’s career. “It’s very similar to what’s going on now,” says Greeley, who applied Lyons’ teachings while he was dealing with a worldwide disruption in product supply and demand at Sun Microsystems.
As Amazon continues to launch and improve new products such as the Kindle wireless electronic reading device, Greeley is looking to what’s next. “The future will bring many opportunities for authors, musicians, filmmakers, and content providers as well as for other companies offering their products online and for the billions of people who want to consume media in old and new ways,” Greeley says.
When Greeley’s not pondering Amazon’s future, he and his family have been taking advantage of living overseas, skiing in the Alps, cycling, and traveling around Europe.
Greg Greeley, MBA 98