Jeff Bezos to step down as Amazon CEO
Published: 12:40 PM, 3 February 2021
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Tuesday announced that he will leave his post later this year.
The 57-year-old will transition to executive chairman of Amazon’s board in the third quarter of this year, which starts July 1. Chief executive of Amazon Web Services Andy Jassy will take over as CEO of Amazon.
“I’m excited to announce that this Q3 I’ll transition to Executive Chair of the Amazon Board and Andy Jassy will become CEO,” Bezos said in a letter to employees.
“In the Exec Chair role, I intend to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives. Andy 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 founded Amazon in 1994 and has since morphed the one-time online bookstore into a mega-retailer with global reach in a slew of different categories from gadgets to groceries to streaming. Amazon surpassed a $1 trillion market cap under Bezos’ leadership in January of last year — it’s now worth more than $1.6 trillion.
The company had kept its succession plans quiet, though onlookers speculated that either Jassy or Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business, would be Bezos’ eventual successor. In August Amazon announced Wilke will retire in 2021. Jassy, 53, will become CEO in the third quarter.
Jassy joined Amazon in 1997 and has led Amazon’s Web Services cloud team since its inception. AWS continues to drive much of Amazon’s profit.
Bezos said he will stay engaged in important Amazon projects but will also have more time to focus on the Bezos Earth Fund, his Blue Origin spaceship company, The Washington Post and the Amazon Day 1 Fund.
“As much as I still tap dance into the office, I’m excited about this transition,” Bezos said in his internal announcement. “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.”
Industry CEOs and Amazon competitors congratulated Bezos and Jassy on the coming transition, with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella calling Jassy’s promotion “well-deserved.”
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai offered Bezos “best wishes” on his other projects.