Amazon’s billionaire founder Jeff Bezos is stepping down as the company’s chief executive.
Bezos, 57, shared the news on Tuesday (2nd February), as Amazon revealed its latest financial results. Reporting sales for the company of $125.6bn in the last three months of 2020, it was its largest quarter ever as seasonal sales combined with increased demand from the pandemic; net sales in the fourth quarter were up 44% on the year before and for the full year up 38%, reaping $386.1bn.
Bezos, who keeps a hand in as executive chair of the Amazon Board, is succeeded by Andy Jassy, chief executive of Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud computing business. Jassy, a Harvard graduate, has been with Amazon since 1997. Bezos said he 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 would remain engaged in important Amazon initiatives, but the transition will allow him to focus on other passions, including the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin and the Washington Post.
He commented in an email to staff at the company: "As much as I still tap dance into the office, I’m excited about this transition. Millions of customers depend on us for our services, and more than a million employees depend on us for their livelihoods. Being the c.e.o. of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else. 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. I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring. I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have.
"Amazon couldn’t be better positioned for the future. We are firing on all cylinders, just as the world needs us to. We have things in the pipeline that will continue to astonish. We serve individuals and enterprises, and we’ve pioneered two complete industries and a whole new class of devices. We are leaders in areas as varied as machine learning and logistics, and if an Amazonian’s idea requires yet another new institutional skill, we’re flexible enough and patient enough to learn it."
The company has said Bezos will hand over the reins to Jassy in the second half of 2021.