Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to Step Down as CEO and Transition Executive Chair Role

Feb 05, 2021
4 min read

Jeff Bezos announced to Step Down as CEO at Amazon

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced to step down as CEO and transition to executive chair role. Bezos, 57, has sent a letter to Amazonians announcing the transition, which is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2021. The Amazon founder went on to say he is excited about the transition and will focus his attention and energies on new products in his role as an executive chairman.

He wrote, “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 Executive 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 Washington Post, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, 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.” [1]

Launched in 1995, Amazon was founded as an online bookstore, and it turned into a behemoth that sells A-Z as in their logo, just about everything. In the process of this journey, Bezos went on to become one of the world’s richest people. It was a fast and free shipping pioneer that won over millions of shoppers who used this website to buy TVs, diapers, and everything else.

Under Bezos’ leadership, Amazon also launched the first e-reader that gained mass acceptance, and the Echo listening device that led to voice assistance use in many living rooms.

Bezos is Handing the Reins to Andy Jassy

The current CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is handing the reins to the cloud services chief, Andy Jassy. This marks his stepping down as the chief executive of the e-commerce giant while the company’s long-time cloud-computing boss, Andy Jassy, will take over as CEO this summer.

Bezos went on to say, “Jassy is well-known inside the company and has been there almost as long as I have. He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence.” [2]

Jassy’s career at Amazon began when he joined the company in 1997 after graduating from Harvard Business School. At this time, the company had only a few hundred employees, and the executive pioneered Amazon’s entry into music sales. In the early 2000s, Jassy was technical assistant to Bezos and helped him launch AWS that upended the software industry with its ability to rent space and software programming for the customers to run their technical operations on a vast array of servers at Amazon.

The Story of Amazon’s Birth

As a child, Jeff was intrigued by computers and quite interested in building things. He got a degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University. He had worked at several Wall Street companies before quitting his job at D.E. Shaw, to start his own online retail business. In the beginning, he was not quite sure what he wanted to sell but quickly determined that an online bookstore would resonate with the consumers.

Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Scott, whom he met at D.E. Shaw and married in 1993, set out on a road trip to Seattle- known for its abundance of tech talent and proximity to large book distributor in Oregon. While she drove, Bezos wrote the business plan for what would later on become Amazon.com. Then he convinced his parents and some friends to invest in his idea, and soon Amazon began its operations out of his Seattle garage on July 16, 1995.

Amazon’s Journey

Under his stewardship, Amazon has evolved from an upstart online bookseller to the world’s most popular internet marketplaces that can quickly deliver a vast catalog of products and services.

His creation of Amazon has helped set in motion a massive change in the way people across the globe shop online. The e-commerce site has also triggered a change in physical retail by accelerating shopping malls and stores shuttering. It has further accelerated owing to the coronavirus pandemic that fueled a surge in online shopping among worried customers who shunned visiting the stores.

To ensure the running of the e-commerce business, Amazon had to create an array of computer data centers, stacked with rows of servers, so that their online marketplace could handle their ever-growing business. Over time, that developed into a new market for the company, Amazon Web Services, a giant, profit-driving cloud computing operation that currently powers websites worldwide.

The company’s impressive growth delivered massive riches as shareholders and made Bezos the richest man on the planet. However, his brass-knuckled tactics also cost his company, with regulators increasingly viewing Amazon as a threat to competition. Also, the workers at Amazon told grim tales about their mistreatment, while carrying out Bezos’s mission to create a customer-first “everything store”.

For years, Amazon has faced fierce criticism for underpaying its workers, which later on led to boost its minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2018. Moreover, it is also fighting an aggressive union drive at Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse, where the employees are pressing for better working conditions at the company and an increase in their pay.

What’s Next for Jeff Bezos?

Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, is moving into a new role as the executive chairman to keep him at the company in a position where he will focus on the innovations at Amazon. This transition of handing the top job to a trusted deputy marks the most radical shake-up in Amazon’s corporate in more than 30-year history.

He stated, “If you do 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.” [3]

Takeaway

Bezos’s interests have changed over the years as he entered new industries. The launch of Blue Origin, a space-travel company, has a goal of “millions of people living and working in space.” It is focused on developing a spacecraft capable of ferrying  astronauts to and from the moon’s surface. In a note to employees, he said to focus on other gambits including, The Washington Post, which he purchased in 2013. With all these responsibilities, he decided to step down as the CEO at Amazon and let Andy Jassy take over this role.

Andy Jassy's career at Amazon is defined by the dominating whole new market of cloud computing business. The fact that Jassy now succeeds Bezos shows that Amazon still values high-risk, high-reward bets.