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Why has Jeff Bezos resigned as Amazon CEO and who is his replacement?

After turning Amazon from an online bookstore into one of the world's most powerful companies, Jess Bezos has confirmed he still step down as CEO.

FILE PHOTO: Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos gives a thumbs up as he speaks during an event about Blue Origin's space exploration plans in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo
Clodagh KilcoyneREUTERS

Jeff Bezos will step down as CEO of Amazon after almost 30 years at the helm of the company he setup in his garage in 1994, which has since gone on to become one of the world’s most powerful companies with profits of $21.3bn in 2020.

In a statement, Bezos said his resignation from Amazon’s top post will allow him to focus on his other ventures, including space exploration firm Blue Origin, The Washington Post and the $10bn Bezos Earth Fund, which was established to support the fight against climate change.

Although, Bezos stressed he was “not leaving” Amazon and would remain on as executive chairman.

Amazon: Bezos to make way for Andy Jassy

The multi-billionaire tycoon confirmed he will be replaced by Andy Jassy, who currently heads Amazon's cloud computing subsidiary Amazon Web Services, with the changeover set to happen in 2021.

“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," Bezos said in a letter to Amazon staff on Tuesday.

"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," he added.

Who is Andy Jassy?

Andy Jassy, chief executive officer of web services at Amazon, speaks during the WSJD Live Global Technology Conference.
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Andy Jassy, chief executive officer of web services at Amazon, speaks during the WSJD Live Global Technology Conference. DPA vía Europa Press

Jassy, a Harvard graduate, has worked at Amazon since 1997 and played a major role in the development of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which has become the company’s main profit engine since its founding in 2006. Jassy has been CEO of AWS since 2016.

Among AWS' clients are governments and some of the world’s largest companies, including Netflix, Facebook, the BBC, ESPN and LinkedIn – all of which pay millions of dollars each month for cloud computing and storage services. 

"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," Bezos said.

Many commentators have pointed out that Jassy’s promotion underscores the importance of AWS to the future of Amazon.

“Jassy’s background in steering AWS shows just how top-of-mind those services are to Amazon’s business strategy,” Tom Johnson, chief transformation officer at Mindshare Worldwide, told the Guardian. “It will be interesting to see how that affects their strategy and balancing that priority with a growing ad business and the commerce behemoth.”

Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of the enterprise cloud company Box, said that Jassy will be “a fantastic successor” for Bezos.

“Bezos created the blueprint for building internet businesses, being hyper customer-centric, and scaling disruptive innovation. Truly incredible run. As for the next era, Andy Jassy is a fantastic successor,” he tweeted.


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