Amazon's Bezos stepping out of CEO role in Q3

David Salazar
Managing Editor
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After 27 years leading the company he founded, Jeff Bezos will be stepping down as CEO of Amazon later this year. Andy Jassy, a longtime employee who currently leads Amazon Web Services, will take over the CEO role in Q3, with Bezos set to transition to the role of executive chair of Amazon’s board. 

“Amazon is what it is because of invention. We do crazy things together and then make 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,” Bezos said. “If you do it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. 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 most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition.”

Jeff Bezos

Bezos began Amazon as an online bookselling operation that has become one of the most transformative players in e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailing. From its Amazon Prime membership to the company’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market in 2017, plus its innovative Amazon Go and Amazon Grocery stores, the company under Bezos has become a trend-setter and a disruptor both among retailers and suppliers as it has grown its private label assortment. The company’s most recent venture  — Amazon Pharmacy — is proof that the company will continue its efforts apace even once Bezos has transitioned out of the CEO role. 

“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,” Bezos wrote in an email to employees Tuesday. “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.”

The company made the announcement alongside its fourth-quarter and full-year operating results for the year ended Dec. 31, 2020. For the quarter, the company reported net sales of $125.6 billion, up 44% from the prior-year period, and the full-year results saw net sales up 38% from fiscal 2019 to $386.1 billion. 

The company said that its main efforts are focused on getting its front-line employees COIVD-19 vaccines, as well as increase testing at its facilities. Amazon noted that its employees received $2.5 billion in additional pay in 2020.