Jeff Bezos is stepping down as the CEO of Amazon, 27 years after founding it with his ex-wife and building it into one of the most successful companies of all time now worth $1.7 trillion.
Bezos, 57, announced the move in a letter to his 1.3 million Amazon employees Tuesday where he insisted he isn’t retiring but wants to focus on his ‘passions’ including his space and climate change ventures.
He will be replaced by 53-year-old Andy Jassy, the current CEO of the Amazon empire cloud business Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the man behind the move to cancel Parler back in January.
assy has been with the company for 24 years and built AWS into the $40billion, internet-dominating machine it now is.
AWS dominates a third of the internet’s cloud business – by far the largest. It is how governments, companies and individuals keep data and operate online.
Bezos will move to the role of Executive Chair where he says he wants to focus on ‘new products and initiatives’.
It is not clear who will take over Jassy’s role at AWS and what the future holds for the cloud computing giant.
The move will not happen until the third quarter of this year.
Bezos didn’t explain the timing for the announcement on Tuesday but it comes as he faces increased scrutiny from Washington over Amazon’s business practices.
The retail giant has been plagued by antitrust investigations, calls for stricter sanctions and cutting questions over its treatment of its workforce amid the pandemic.
Bezos himself was hauled before Congress in July to answer to accusations that Amazon, along with other big tech firms, was using their position to crush competition.
Bezos announced the change in an email to staff on Tuesday afternoon and as the company reported bumper 2020 Q4 earnings of more than $100billion.
Throughout the whole of 2020, Amazon stocks rose by 85 percent.
In the memo, Bezos insisted this ‘isn’t about retiring’ and said he was ‘excited about this transition’.
He described the role he has occupied for almost three decades as ‘consuming’ and said it was ‘hard to put attention on anything else’.
Bezos said he ‘will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions.’
In the letter Bezos said: ‘Fellow Amazonians, I’m excited to announce that this Q3 I’ll transition to Executive Chair of the Amazon Board and Andy Jassy will become CEO.
‘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.
‘This journey began some 27 years ago. Amazon was only an idea, and it had no name.
‘The question I was asked most frequently at that time was, ‘What’s the internet?’ Blessedly, I haven’t had to explain that in a long while.