Jeff Bezos to step down as CEO of Amazon, focus on new products

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on February 03, 2021

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is transitioning to Executive Chairman of the Amazon board in Q3 (July-September) this year, making way for Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS (Amazon Web Services) to take over as CEO of Amazon.

“In the Exec Chair role, I intend to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives. 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,” said Bezos in an email to employees.

Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 as an online book store, and is now recognised as a global retail giant. Jassy had joined Amazon in 1997 and has led AWS’s cloud team since its inception, a highly profitable company that contributes a significant amount of Amazon’s profit.

“Amazon was only an idea, and it had no name. The question I was asked most frequently at that time was: ‘What’s the internet?’ Blessedly, I haven’t had to explain that in a long while. Today, we employ 1.3 million talented, dedicated people, serve hundreds of millions of customers and businesses, and are widely recognised as one of the most successful companies in the world,” said Bezos.

He said ‘invention’ is at the root of Amazon’s success.

Yawn, a compliment

“We’ve done crazy things together, and then made them normal. We pioneered customer reviews, 1-Click, personalised recommendations, Prime’s insanely-fast shipping, Just Walk Out shopping, the Climate Pledge, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, infrastructure cloud computing, Career Choice, and much more. If you get 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,” he said.

“I don’t know of another company with an invention track record as good as Amazon’s, and I believe we are at our most inventive right now. I hope you are as proud of our inventiveness as I am. I think you should be,” added Bezos in the email.

Stepping into a new role

About his transition, Bezos said: “As much as I still tap dance into the office, I’m excited about this transition.... 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 organisations can have.”

On Amazon’s future prospects, Bezos said: “We are firing on all cylinders, just as the world needs us to. We have things in the pipeline that will continue to astonish. 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.”

He concluded his email by urging fellow Amazonians to keep inventing, and not to despair when at first the idea looks crazy. “Remember to wander. Let curiosity be your compass. It remains Day 1.”

Published on February 03, 2021

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