Jeff Bezos to Step Down as Amazon CEO Later in 2021

He will take up the role of executive chairman, a move that he claims will give him time to focus on other projects.

4 min read

Jeff Bezos on Tuesday, 2 February, said he will step down as the chief executive of Amazon, one of the world’s most valuable brands, in the latter part of 2021. Bezos will take up the role of executive chairman of the technology firm, a move that he claims will give him time to focus on his other projects, BBC reported.

Bezos will be replaced by Andy Jassy, who currently heads Amazon's web business.

In a letter to his employees, the 57-year-old expressed that he 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,” BBC quoted.

"I'm super passionate about the impact I think these organisations can have,” he added.


Saying that he sees Amazon at its “most inventive ever,” he expressed that it is an “optimal time for this transition,” BBC quoted.

Speaking of Jassy, Bezos referred to him as an outstanding leader and conveyed that he has his full confidence. According to BBC, Jassy has been with Amazon since 1997 and developed the firm’s profit engine – its web platform.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai congratulated Jassy on his new role, and expressed his best wishes to Jeff Bezos for the Earth fund.

He will take up the role of executive chairman, a move that he claims will give him time to focus on other projects.
Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai took to Twitter to congratulate Jassy on his new role. 
Photo Courtesy: Screenshot/Twitter

Bezos started the US-based firm as an online bookshop in his garage in 1994. Today, Amazon dominates online sales, employees 1.3 million people worldwide and has accumulated a fortune of $196.2 billion according to Forbes, BBC reported.

With operations in online retail, streaming services, groceries, cloud computing, robotics, artificial intelligence and more, Amazon saw astronomical profits even during the pandemic, as the world shifted to online buying out of necessity.

The firm reported a 38 percent increase in sales in 2020 from 2019. Profits nearly doubled, skyrocketing to $21.3 billion.

Bezos's Letter To His Employees

Jeff Bezos emailed a letter to his employees announcing the transition as shared on the Amazon website.

“Fellow Amazonians:

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.”


(With inputs from BBC and AFP)

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