Amazon.com has announced that CEO Jeff Bezos will step down from his position and become the executive chairman in the third quarter of this year. The head of Amazon’s cloud division Amazon Web Services, (AWS) Andy Jassy, will succeed Bezos and become the next Amazon CEO, the company confirmed.
Jeff Bezos, founded Amazon as an online bookstore and built it into a shopping and entertainment behemoth. He was CEO for nearly 30 years.
In a note to employees, posted on Amazon website, Bezos said, “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.”
Blue Origin is Bezos’ space company.
Launched in 1995, Amazon was a pioneer of fast, free shipping that won over millions of shoppers who used the site to buy diapers, TVs and just about anything else. Under Bezos, Amazon also launched the first e-reader that gained mass acceptance, and its Echo listening device made voice assistants a common sight in living rooms.
During the pandemic, Amazon was one of the few retailers to benefit as shoppers stayed clear of malls and shopped from their phones. On the same day Amazon announced Bezos would step down, the company reported making a record profit in the last three months of 2020, and its quarterly revenue shot past $100 billion for the first time.
Bezos’ stake in Amazon is currently worth about $180 billion. For years he stayed behind the scenes, running the company. More recently, he sometimes stepped into the spotlight, showing up at movie premieres and Hollywood parties.