- On Tuesday, Billionaire Jeff Bezos revealed that he would step down as the company’s CEO
- Andy Jassy, who runs Amazon’s cloud computing company, will take the spot of Jeff Bezos as the new CEO of Amazon, in the fall
- In a letter to Amazon staff, Bezos said he wanted to concentrate on philanthropy and other important initiative projects at Amazon
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said on Tuesday that he will step down later this year as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company he founded from a start-up into one of the world’s most successful firms.
Based on his Amazon stake, the world’s richest person, Bezos said he would move to the position of executive chair in the third quarter, handing over the role of CEO to Andy Jassy, who heads Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The news came as Amazon recorded a blowout holiday quarter with revenues more than doubling to $7.2 billion and revenue rising 44 percent to $125.6 billion—as online sales soared across the world due to pandemic lockdowns.
Bezos said in a letter to Amazon employees that he will “stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives” but would turn towards philanthropic initiatives, including his Day One Fund and Bezos Earth Fund, and other space exploration and journalism business ventures.
Bezos said, “I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring.”
Bezos added, “I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have.”
In 1994, Bezos, 57, created Amazon in his garage and went on to expand it into a colossus dominating online retail, with music and television streaming operations, food, cloud computing, robotics, artificial intelligence, and more.
His other ventures include The Washington Post newspaper and the Blue Origin, a private space firm.
Andy Jassy, his successor, joined Amazon as a marketing manager in 1997 and created AWS (Amazon Web Services), the company’s cloud services division, which was one of the tech giant’s most lucrative but least-known divisions, in 2006.
Bezos said in a statement, “Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have and he will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence.”
Billionaire Jeff Bezos also said, “Right now, I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition.”
Over the past few years, Bezos’ tenure at Amazon has been characterized by a remarkable performance that has seen a vast expansion internationally and growth in profitability.
The Seattle, Washington-based corporation is building a second headquarters outside of the US capital.
As of Tuesday, Amazon’s market value was some $1.69 trillion, a tenfold rise from a decade ago, making it one of the most valuable in the world.
Bezos’s stake gives him an estimated $196 billion worth of personal wealth, marginally more than Elon Musk, who briefly captured the title of the richest person in the world.
In its vast warehouse operations, Amazon has faced criticism over working conditions, but has also led other corporations by ensuring a minimum wage of $15 per hour and has spent billions in minimizing Covid-19.
The company employs more than a million people globally, including 800,000 in the United States.
The transition comes with Amazon and other major tech firms under heightened scrutiny for their domination in key economic sectors by antitrust enforcers in the United States and elsewhere, which became even more pronounced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
While Amazon has become the leading force in online shopping, Bezos has brushed aside criticism of its market dominance.
Last year, he told a congressional hearing that Amazon accounts for less than four percent of United States retail spending and has a “range of retail competitors.”
As Amazon has extended its streaming media services and grocery operations, the latest quarterly results showed growth in all business lines, including its cloud computing.
Amazon has raised revenue during the pandemic “off the back of its superior logistics network,” Neil Saunders of the research firm GlobalData said, but is also facing rising competition.
Neil Saunders said, “Looking ahead, we believe that Amazon will emerge from the pandemic as a larger and stronger business.”
Neil Saunders of the research firm GlobalData also said, “We welcome the leadership change, if only because it will allow Jeff Bezos to focus more on innovation and new ideas, which will offer the fuel to power the engine of future growth.”