Technology

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, decides to step down as CEO

Jeff Bezos

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will resign from his post later this year, according to an announcement Tuesday, handing the helm over to the company’s top cloud executive, Andy Jassy. Bezos will become Amazon’s Executive Chairman of the Board.

Bezos created Amazon in 1994 and has since turned the one-time online bookstore into a global mega retailer in a variety of categories, from electronics to food to streaming. In January of last year, under Bezos’ leadership, Amazon reached a $1 trillion market cap; it is now worth more than $1.6 trillion.

The organization had kept its succession plans secret, though observers suspected that Bezos’ eventual successor would be either Jassy or Jeff Wilke, CEO of the worldwide market sector of Amazon. Jeff Wilke will retire in 2021, Amazon announced in August. In the third quarter, Jassy, 53, will become CEO.

In 1997, Jassy joined Amazon and has led the cloud team of Amazon’s Web Services since its inception. AWS keeps driving much of the profit for Amazon.

Jeff Bezos said in a letter to employees, “I’m excited to announce that this Q3 I’ll transition to Executive Chair of the Amazon Board and Andy Jassy will become CEO.”

Furthermore, “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.”

On a media call, Amazon’s chief financial officer, Brian Olsavsky, said Bezos will stay very active and have his hands on several different aspects of the company.

Bezos said he would remain active in big Amazon ventures but will also have more time to concentrate on the Bezos Earth Fund, the Washington Post and the Amazon Day 1 Fund, his Blue Origin spaceship venture.

Here’s the full letter from Jeff Bezos to Amazon employees

Fellow Amazonians:

I’m excited to announce that this Q3 I’ll transition to Executive Chair of the Amazon Board and Andy Jassy will become CEO. 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.

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.

Today, we employ 1.3 million talented, dedicated people, serve hundreds of millions of customers and businesses, and are widely recognized as one of the most successful companies in the world.

How did that happen? Invention. Invention is the root of our success. We’ve done crazy things together, and then made 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 get it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. People yawn. And that yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive.

I don’t know of another company with an invention track record as good as Amazon’s, and I believe we are at our most inventive right now. I hope you are as proud of our inventiveness as I am. I think you should be.

As Amazon became large, we decided to use our scale and scope to lead on important social issues. Two high-impact examples: our $15 minimum wage and the Climate Pledge. In both cases, we staked out leadership positions and then asked others to come along with us. In both cases, it’s working. Other large companies are coming our way. I hope you’re proud of that as well.

I find my work meaningful and fun. I get to work with the smartest, most talented, most ingenious teammates. When times have been good, you’ve been humble. When times have been tough, you’ve been strong and supportive, and we’ve made each other laugh. It is a joy to work on this team.

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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 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.

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.
Jeff

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