Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is stepping down and will transition to the position of executive chair, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy taking over the top role.
Bezos will make the transition in the third quarter of 2021 as Jassy takes over.
“Amazon is what it is because of invention. We do crazy things together and then make them normal. We pioneered customer reviews, 1-Click, personalised recommendations, Prime’s insanely-fast shipping, Just Walk Out shopping, the Climate Pledge, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, infrastructure cloud computing, Career Choice, and much more,” Bezos said.
“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.”
Amazon broke the news of Bezos’ change in tandem with its financial results ending December 31, which saw net sales increase 38 per cent to US$386.1 billion, compared with US$280.5 billion in 2019.
Operating income increased to US$22.9 billion, compared to US$14.5 billion in 2019. Operating cash flow also rocketed 72 per cent to US$66.1 billion for the 12 months, compared with US$38.5 billion in the previous year.
Within AWS, the company posted revenue of US$12.7 billion, gaining significant customer momentum along the way.
Bezos started the company 27 years ago and in a letter to employees he said he intends to focus his energy and attention on new products and early initiatives. Jassy has been part of AWS since its inception in 2006 and was promoted to AWS CEO in 2016.
“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,” he reminisced.
“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 CEO 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 executive chair, Bezos said he will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but will also focus on other passions such as the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin and The Washington Post.
“I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring. I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organisations can have,” he said.
“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. Keep inventing, and don’t despair when at first the idea looks crazy. Remember to wander. Let curiosity be your compass. It remains Day 1."