The founder of the world’s largest eCommerce platform, Jeff Bezos will step down as CEO and become executive chairman of Amazon, handing over the position to the head of its cloud computing division signifying the company’s transformation from web retailer to internet conglomerate.
Mr. Bezos will hand the keys of the world’s largest online retailer to Andy Jassy, head of its cloud division Amazon Web Services known as AWS. The announcement settles a long-running question about who would replace the world’s second-richest person at the company’s helm.
Mr. Bezos is ending his role as CEO on a high note as the business he began as an internet bookseller 27 years ago is now one of the world’s most valuable companies and posted three consecutive record profits after losses in decades prior. Last day, Amazon reported quarterly sales above $100 billion for the first time.
Mr. Jassy, joined Amazon in 1997 after Harvard Business School, founding AWS and growing it to a cloud platform used by millions of customers, the company’s website said. He had been a clear contender for the top job since Amazon created two CEO roles reporting to Mr. Bezos years ago, the other held by recently retired consumer CEO Jeff Wilke.
Experts are of the opinion that Mr. Jassy’s promotion underscored the centrality of the web hosting business to Amazon’s strategy. “Mr. Jassy’s background in steering AWS shows just how top of mind those services are to Amazon’s business strategy. It’ll be interesting to see how that affects their strategy and balancing that priority with a growing ad business and the commerce behemoth,” they said.
Under Jassy’s leadership, Amazon’s cloud business has signed major customers including telecom giant Verizon, global restaurant chain McDonald’s and multinational conglomerate Honeywell. US-based startups have long relied on AWS, and the division’s annual revenue grew 30 percent in 2019 and 37 percent in 2020, helping cement its position as the market leader.
“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 Bezos’ space company. I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring.”
Amazon said it was not naming an AWS replacement for Mr. Jassy at this time.
Meanwhile Amazon’s eCommerce business has never been as big. Since the start of the global coronavirus outbreak, consumers have turned to Amazon for delivery of home staples and medical supplies. While brick-and-mortar shops closed their doors, Amazon recruited over millions more workers to keep up with the worldwide demand.