Jeff Bezos will step down as CEO of Amazon, becoming executive chairman of the company he conceived 27 years ago on a road trip to Seattle, and built into one of the world’s most valuable companies.
As CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos will step down and become executive chairman of the company that he conceived 27 years ago on a road trip to Seattle and developed into one of the most successful companies in the world.
In an email to Amazon employees announcing the news, Bezos said he’ll spend more time focusing on new products and early initiatives.
“As Exec Chair, I will remain involved in major Amazon initiatives, but I will also have the time and energy I need to concentrate on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions.” I have never had more resources, and it’s not a matter of retiring. I’m super passionate about the effect that I think can have on these organizations.
Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky, speaking with reporters and analysts, offered a sense of continuity, saying Bezos would continue to have “fingerprints on a lot of product development and innovation areas.”
“Jeff is not going anywhere, really,” Olsavsky said. “There is more restructuring of who does what.”
The company will particularly use the horsepower of Bezos on “one-way doors,” the finance chief said, using the terminology of the company for big decisions that are not easily reversed or altered.
“Olsavsky said, “Andy has a chance to bring Amazon on his imprint. “Andy brings his own set of skills, of course.” In his own right, he is a visionary leader, a great operator; he understands what makes Amazon such a special, visionary place. And we foresee a lot of consistency here. “He added, “We definitely have a change to make to the AWS business, but we think that will also be done well. In relation to a substitute for Jassy, Olsavsky said the company did not have any information to share.
Jassy was a leading contender to succeed Bezos as CEO, joining Amazon in 1997. Another possible replacement was Jeff Wilke, another former Amazon exec who headed the Worldwide Consumer division of the company, but Wilke said in August that he was leaving Amazon and retiring this quarter.
Werner Vogels, CTO at Amazon, called Jassy “the absolute best person to lead the company.”
Bezos’ net worth has grown to more than $180 billion. Amazon has surged amid the pandemic and reported a record holiday quarter Tuesday with $125.6 billion in revenue. Bezos is the company’s largest individual shareholder.
Here’s an official statement from Bezos, who just turned 57 years old in January:
“Amazon is what it is because of invention. We do crazy things together and then make them normal. We pioneered customer reviews, 1-Click, personalized recommendations, Prime’s insanely-fast shipping, Just Walk Out shopping, the Climate Pledge, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, infrastructure cloud computing, Career Choice, and much more. If you do it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. People yawn. That yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive. When you look at our financial results, what you’re actually seeing are the long-run cumulative results of invention. Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition.”