Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos says he will step down in the third quarter of this year and will transition to the Executive Chairman role while pledging his full support for AWS head Andy Jassy to take over the reins at Amazon. For starters, Andy Jassy has been there from the beginning and has been by Bezos’ side since day one and so the transition shouldn’t be a difficult one. The news comes as Amazon just like Apple surpassed the $100b revenue mark in a quarter. He led AWS into becoming the fastest growing unit within the Amazon circle and has the support of the board to lead the over $1.6 trillion business empire that Bezos has been responsible for since 1885 when he started the company in his garage.
Jeff Bezos is now 57 and has broken many business records, notable among them is he becoming the first person to be worth $200b, however brief. He grew the brand from a simple online book store to a global online shopping mall that has its reach in virtually every major city of the world. He led the company to surpass the one trillion dollar mark by aggressively expanding acquisitions and launching new services from video streaming to groceries.
The succession plan of the company of the company is as expected by close watchers in that Jassy or Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business would eventually lead the company someday but we then shifted focus to Jassy when in August Amazon announced Wilke will retire in 2021. Andy Jassy joined the brand two years after it started in 1997 and has been in the web services since inception. AWS has driven much of Amazon’s profit and has grown to become the biggest pubic cloud service in the world.
But to allay fears that he will be leaving the company at a critical time, Bezos sent a letter to employees telling them that he would still be involved deeply with the company even though he needs time to focus on some other projects like his space experiment Blue Origin Day 1 and Earth Fund.
“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.”
Andy Jassy will be leading Amazon through its many anti trust crisis from America to Europe. Big tech is facing the same questions as Amazon and we expect to see many of such cases being filed against the likes of Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon this year and probably beyond.
Here’s a look at Jeff Bezos’ empire. He has a net worth of about $196b as at today
Other tech leaders have come out to praise both Bezos and Jassy.
Congratulations to @JeffBezos and @ajassy on your new roles. A well-deserved recognition of what you have accomplished.
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) February 2, 2021
Congrats @JeffBezos , best wishes for Day 1 and Earth fund. Congrats @ajassy on your new role!
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) February 2, 2021
Read Jeff Bezos full letter to Amazon staff below;
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.
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.