Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos will step down as CEO of Amazon and become Executive Chairman, appointing the head of the cloud computing division as the heir to the transition of the organization from the online store to the internet empire.
This summer, Bezos, 57, will hand over the keys to the world’s biggest online store to Andy Jassy, head of the Amazon Web Services cloud division known as AWS.
Tuesday’s announcement settles a long-running debate as to who will replace the second-richest person in the world at the helm of the company.
Bezos is putting an end to his position as CEO on a high note: the company he started as an online bookshop 27 years ago is now one of the most profitable businesses in the world and has won three straight record profits following losses in decades.
On Tuesday, Amazon announced quarterly revenue of more than $100 billion for the first time. Jassy, 53, joined Amazon in 1997 after Harvard Business School, founding AWS and extending it as a cloud network used by millions of users, said the company’s website.
He has been a strong candidate for the top job when Amazon established two CEO positions reporting to Bezos years ago, the other one filled by recently retired customer CEO Jeff Wilke.
Jassy is known for understanding extremely technical specifics and has consistently taken over jabs from Oracle Corp’s legacy competitor and Microsoft Corp’s cloud competitor, which AWS continues to outperform in revenue. Bezos made less public announcements on the rivals.
Under Jassy’s leadership, Amazon’s cloud company has signed on to big clients including Verizon, McDonald’s, and Honeywell. Silicon Valley startups have depended on AWS for a long time, and the division’s annual sales rose by 37% in 2019 and 30% in 2020, helping to improve its position as the industry leader.
In a letter to staff posted on the Amazon website, Bezos, who has also worked on other personal businesses in previous years, said, “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.” Blue Origin is the space company of Bezos.