Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos plans to step down later this year.
Company exec Andy Jassy will take over. Bezos will transition to executive chairman of Amazon’s board.
Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 and since then has morphed it from an online bookstore into a mega online retailer that sells and delivers all sorts of products all over the world. In January of last year, Amazon surpassed a $1 trillion market cap under Bezos’ leadership. It’s now worth more than $1.6 trillion.
Amazon had kept its succession plans quiet, though pundits speculated that Jassy would be his successor.
Jassy joined Amazon in 1997 and has led Amazon’s Web Services cloud team since its inception. AWS continues to drive much of Amazon’s profit.
The news came alongside an earnings report in which Amazon posted its first $100 billion quarter. AWS, Jassy’s current division, reported 28% revenue growth for the fourth quarter. About 52% of Amazon’s operating income was attributed to AWS as of October 2020.
“I’m excited to announce that this Q3 I’ll transition to Executive Chair of the Amazon Board and Andy Jassy will become CEO,” Bezos said in a letter to employees. “In the Exec Chair role, I intend to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives. Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have. He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence.”
Bezos said he will stay engaged in important Amazon projects but will also have more time to focus on the Bezos Earth Fund, his Blue Origin spaceship company, The Washington Post and the Amazon Day 1 Fund.
We wonder how this will shape the future of Amazon — or if Jeff’s decision to step down means there’s some trouble coming.