Amazon announced on Tuesday that Jeff Bezos will be stepping down as CEO of the company later this year, a role he’s had since he founded the company about 27 years ago.
The company said that he’ll be replaced in the fall by Andy Jassy, who heads Amazon Web Services. Bezos will then be taking place as the company’s executive chairman. Andy Jassy joined Amazon as a marketing manager in 1997 and in 2003 founded Amazon Web Services(AWS), the web division of the company which has been one of the most profitable but least-known units of the tech colossus.
Tom Johnson, chief transformation officer at Mindshare Worldwide, said Jassy’s promotion underscored the importance of web services to Amazon’s future.
“Jassy’s background in steering AWS shows just how the top of mind those services are to Amazon’s business strategy. It’ll be interesting to see how that affects their strategy and balancing their priority with a growing ad business and the commerce behemoth,” he said.
The announcement came as Amazon reported a blowout holiday quarter with profits more than doubling to $7.2 billion and revenue jumping 44 percent to $125.6 billion.
In a letter to Amazon employees published on Tuesday afternoon, Bezos announced that he would transition to executive chairman, where he’ll focus on “new products and early initiatives.”
“Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming,” Bezos wrote. “When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else.”
“Amazon is what it is because of invention,” Bezos said in a statement. “Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition.”
Bezos said that while he will still be involved in important initiatives at Amazon, and plans to spend more time on philanthropy. “As Exec Chair I 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.”
Bezos started Amazon as an online bookstore about 27 years ago and then built an empire from it. Amazon is now the best e-commerce company, that sells just about everything. As of recently, Jeff Bezos held the position of the richest man in the world but was replaced by Elon Musk earlier in January 2021.