A new era for Amazon as Jeff Bezos hands over CEO role

Jeff Bezos at re:MARS 2019 fireside chat - Source: Amazon

In an internal letter to Amazon.com employees yesterday, Jeff Bezos announced that he will be stepping down as chief executive of the company in the third quarter this year to become its executive chairman. It will mark the first time that someone other than Mr. Bezos has led the day-to-day business at Amazon since its founding.

Andy Jassy, long-time company veteran and head of Amazon Web Services, will transition into the CEO role with Mr. Bezos’ change in duties.  Mr. Jassy “is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have,” wrote Mr. Bezos. “He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence.”

Mr. Bezos said he would remain engaged with important company projects and that he intended to devote more of his time to his other business and philanthropic interests including the Bezos Earth Fund, his Blue Origin spaceship company, The Washington Post and the Amazon Day 1 Fund.

Reflecting on Amazon’s success, he pointed to invention as the key.

“We’ve done crazy things together and then made them normal,” he wrote. “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. 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.”

Mr. Bezos also touted socially responsible moves Amazon has made during his tenure, such as paying workers a minimum starting wage of $15 an hour and committing $2 billion to its Climate Pledge effort.

Amazon has long been known for getting maximum positive publicity for all its announcements and Mr. Bezos was not the only big news yesterday for the retailing, logistics and technology giant. The company reported that net sales climbed 44 percent year-over-year to  $125.6 billion in the fourth quarter. Net income during the quarter increased to $14.09 per share, up from $6.47 a share during the same period in 2019.