Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, has announced that he will be setting down as the company’s CEO.
Bezos and Amazon has confirmed that he will be transitioning to the role of Executive Chair of the Amazon board, at which point Andy Jassy – the current leader of Amazon Web Service (AWS) since its creation in 2003 and becoming its managing director since 2016 – will take over as CEO for the Amazon group as a whole.
In the email statement sent to employees, Bezos stated:
“In the Exec Chair role, I intend to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives,” and that “Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have.”
It seems that Bezos will now dedicate most of his time to running other initiatives, including the “Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and [his] other passions” according to the email sent.
Whilst Jassy isn’t as big as a household name as Bezos is, he is already in charge of probably one of the most important pieces of Amazon’s business. AWS earned Amazon USD$13.5 billion in profits in 2020 alone.
During Bezos time at Amazon, he hasn’t been far from controversy. Amazon, and Bezos, have faced concerns around the treatment of Amazon workers at the company’s distribution centers, of which has exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous antitrust concerns, user privacy mainly relating to its Ring products, alongside the company putting a pause on the use of its facial recognition software in mid-2020 after a number of controversies.
Under Bezos leadership, the company has become one of the biggest success stories since its launched as an online bookseller way back in early July 1994, to become the dominant online retailer. Granted, the company has expanded into other areas with mixed success, like Amazon Prime Video which is still very much trailing behind Netflix and other streaming services. There is no doubt that Bezos has been able to grow and expand its offerings.
It will remain to be seen how Andy Jassy will go as the CEO for the Amazon group as a whole given the current challenges facing the company, such as the antitrust investigations not only in the USA but around the world, but also how the company will go without Bezos behind the wheel.