‘This Isn’t About Retiring:’ Jeff Bezos

While reporting its financial results for the fourth quarter on Tuesday, Amazon said that Jeff Bezos will step down as Chief Executive Officer of the company and transition to the role of Executive Chair in the third quarter of 2021.

Andy Jassy, who currently leads Amazon Web Services or AWS, will succeed Bezos and become only the second CEO of Amazon in the online retail giant’s 27-year history. AWS is the cloud service division of Amazon.

Jassy has been CEO of AWS since April 2016 and head of AWS since its inception in 2006. He joined Amazon in 1997. Jassy was widely seen as Bezos’ successor.

In an email to Amazon’s employees, Bezos said that in the Executive Chair role, he will focus his energies and attention on new products and early initiatives.

“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,” Bezos said.

Bezos noted that Amazon pioneered customer reviews, 1-Click, personalized recommendations, Prime’s fast shipping, Just Walk Out shopping, the Climate Pledge, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, infrastructure cloud computing, and Career Choice.

Jassy’s elevation to the CEO role at Amazon highlights the importance as well as growth of AWS among Amazon’s major divisions.

AWS, a provider of on-demand cloud computing platforms to companies and governments, is the only company approved by the U.S. government to handle top secret data. AWS is the dominant player in the global cloud computing market.

AWS has expanded beyond core computing and storage. It now comprises more than 175 products and services including computing, storage, networking, database, analytics, applications and tools for the Internet of Things.

Amazon has benefitted considerably from the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting unprecedented surge in demand as consumers turned online following store closures. It is now ranked among the top three most valuable U.S. companies.

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