Jeff Bezos to step down as head of Amazon, with no plans to retire
With the recent announcement that Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon CEO and transitioning to a new role as executive chair of the board and still engaging with Amazon initiatives. He told staff in a letter “Being CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention to anything else”.
He plans to put his energy into his “other passions” like “the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, the Blue Origin, The Washington Post” as examples of where he intends to focus. “As much as I like to tap dance into the office, I’m excited about this transition”. Andy Jassy, the present chief of Amazon’s cloud-computing business, will take over the new role as CEO in Q3.
Having started Amazon as an online book-seller in 1994, it is now a $1.7 trillion giant and the second largest employer in the United States. Back then, very few people shopped online, let alone knew what the internet was or what e-commerce stood for. Bezos worked for a hedge fund and setting up Amazon would mean working out of his garage, a huge risk at the time. What spurred him on was not wanting to look back as an 80 year with a quiet moment of reflection and having any regrets. He had an idea for a new business, and if he didn’t try, he’d have regretted not trying.
“Amazon is what it is because of invention. If you get it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal” he told staff in his letter. “People yawn. That yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive. When you look at our financial results, what you’re actually seeing are the long-run cumulative results of invention. Right now, I see Amazon at its inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition”. This announcement, coming not long after trading figures for the last quarter of 2020, show sales of more than $100bn for the first time.