Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos is to step down as chief executive of the e-commerce giant that he started in his garage nearly 30 years ago.
He will become executive chairman, a move he said would give him time and energy to focus on his other ventures.
Bezos, the world’s richest man, will be replaced by Andy Jassy, who currently leads Amazon’s cloud computing business.
The change will take place in the second half of 2021, the company said.
“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, Mr Bezos said in a letter to Amazon staff on Tuesday, 2 January.
“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.
It saw its already explosive growth skyrocket last year, as the pandemic prompted a surge in online shopping.
In announcing the plans, Bezos said he would continue to focus on new products and initiatives.
Bezos’s decision to hand over the day-to-day operation of the company came as a surprise. But investors appeared unfazed, with little change in the firm’s share price in after-hours trade.
Amazon’s chief financial officer, Brian Olsavsky, said on a media call that the executive change was decided in consultation with Amazon’s board of directors. He said Bezos will remain very involved and have his fingerprints on lots of different parts of the company. Olsavsky said Jassy is a visionary leader who will bring his own skill set but that Amazon expects a lot of continuity with the transition.
Industry CEOs and Amazon competitors congratulated Bezos and Jassy on the coming transition, with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella calling Jassy’s promotion ‘well-deserved’.
See his farewell letter below