The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder of Amazon; Jeff Bezos will be stepping down and handing over the company’s leadership reins to Amazon’s main cloud executive; Andy Jassy. This is according to an announcement which was made on Tuesday; the 2nd of February 2021.
The Founder will subsequently become the Executive Chairman of the Board at Amazon.
Jeff Bezos who is 57 created Amazon in 1994. He has over the years transformed the company from an online bookstore to super retailer which along with its global reach, has ventured into numerous aspects from online streaming, to groceries, to technology gadgets.
In January of 2020 and under the leadership of Jeff Bezos, Amazon crossed the 1 trillion dollars market cap. The company as at the time of writing this article, is now worth more than 1.6 trillion dollars.
Although Amazon had managed to keep its succession plans under wraps, observers had for a while predicted that either Andy Jassy or Jeff Wilke who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business, would eventually take over from Jeff Bezos.
Amazon however announced that Jeff Wilke will be retiring this year (2021). Andy Jassy will be taking over as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) by the third quarter of 2021.
In 1997 Jassy joined the Amazon team. Since then Jassy went on to leading Amazon’s Web Services since its creation. Amazon Web Services continue to contribute greatly to Amazon’s revenue.
Jeff Bezos via a letter to his company’s employees said, “I’m excited to announce that this Q3 I’ll transition to Executive Chair of the Amazon Board and Andy Jassy will become CEO.”
He added that, “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.”
The development is coming at the same time with Amazon’s earnings report. The American multinational technology company experienced its first 100 billion dollar quarter. Amazon Web Services also reported a revenue growth of 28 percent for the 4th quarter.
An estimate of 52 percent of Amazon’s operating income was attributed to Amazon Web Services as well, as at October of 2020.
Amazon’s shares value increased by 1 percent alongside the C-suite news and earnings report. Its stocks increased by 4 percent in 2021 and has grown by nearly 70 percent in the past 12 months.
The Chief Financial Officer of Amazon; Brian Olsavsky made it known during a media call that the executive decision was made in consultation with the company’s Board of Directors, adding that Jeff Bezos will remain very involved in various parts of the company.
Speaking on Andy Jassy the Chief Financial Officer; Brian Olsavsky said he is a visionary leader who will bring his own skill set but that Amazon expects a lot of continuity with the transition.
As Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Andy Jassy will be expected to Shepherd the company through the current antitrust concerns as soon as he takes over.
In October 2020 and after an investigation into competitive practices in big tech establishments (including Amazon) that went on for 16 months, US House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust reached a conclusion that the big tech companies have monopoly power.
Amazon, is also dealing with antitrust concerns in the European Union.
Jeff Bezos stated that he will continue to be part of important Amazon projects, while also focusing more on The Washington Post, Bezos Earth Fund, the Amazon Day 1 Fund, and Blue Origin which is his spaceship company.
The Founder through his internal announcement said, “As much as I still tap dance into the office, I’m excited about this transition.”
He added that, “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.”
Other Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) rivals of Amazon, congratulated Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy on the announced transition.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft; Satya Nadella described Andy Jassy’s promotion as “well-deserved.”
Alphabet’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO); Sundar Pichai offered Jeff Bezos his “best wishes” in regards to his other projects.
Below is the complete letter from Jeff Bezos to employees at 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. 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.
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