Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will step down as chief executive of the e-commerce giant and will be replaced by Andy Jassy, who currently heads the firm’s cloud computing business.
This decision comes amidst Amazon facing increasing scrutiny from regulators, who have questioned its monopoly power and its dominance in cloud computing being challenged by other tech firms including Microsoft and Alphabet.
The change will take place in the second half of 2021, the company said.
Bezos, who started the firm in his garage nearly 30 years ago, will assume the charge as executive chairman to focus on his other ventures.
Analyst James Clayton said as executive chair and founder he Bezos still exercises huge power over the company, however, stepping down will inevitably mean less influence.
This decision came as a surprise, but the investors were unruffled as the change did not affect Amazon’s share price in after-hours trade.
“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,” Bezos said in a letter to Amazon staff.
“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,” he added.
As Exec Chair, Bezos said he will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives, but also have the time and energy he needs 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,” he said.
57 years old Bezos has amassed a fortune of $196.2 billion and has forayed into package delivery, streaming video, cloud services, and advertising. He had a very humble beginning as an entrepreneur by launching an online bookshop in 1994.
Amazon now employs 1.3 million people globally and saw an explosive growth skyrocket last year during the Covid pandemic, which forced a surge in online shopping.
The firm reported $386bn in sales in 2020, up 38 percent from 2019. Profits almost doubled, rising to $21.3 billion.