Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos announces he is stepping down

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Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos announced on Tuesday he is stepping down as the Chief Executive Officer of the e-commerce giant, a company he founded 27 years ago.

“As much as I still tap dance into the office, I’m excited about this transition,” Bezos said in a letter to employees, adding that he will focus on his  “the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions.” The Day 1 Fund and Bezos Earth Fund are Bezos charity organizations.

Amazon’s head of cloud computing unit, Andy Jassy, will take over from Bezos in the third quarter of 2021 while Bezos will become executive chair of Amazon’s board, according to the letter.

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“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,” Bezos said. “He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence,” he added.

At the age of 30, Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 as an online book seller. From a small beginning, the company has since metamorphosed into a tech giant, responsible for 37 percent of all online sales in the United States, according to Statista, transforming the retailing industry once dominated by brick-and-mortar businesses.

“This journey began some 27 years ago. Amazon was only an idea, and it had no name,” Bezos wrote in the letter to the employees. “The question I was asked most frequently at that time was, ‘What’s the internet?’ … Today, we employ 1.3 million talented, dedicated people, serve hundreds of millions of customers and businesses, and are widely recognized as one of the most successful companies in the world.”

Amazon’s market valuation surpassed $1 trillion for the first time in January, and has continued to grow rapidly. The tech giant is currently worth more than $1.6 trillion.

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Jeff Bezos’ announcement came less than 2 hours after Amazon reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations for both sales and profit, capping a banner year as the pandemic forced more people to shop online, boosting Amazon’s retail and cloud businesses. Over the past one year, Amazon’s stock has surged to nearly 69%.

Amazon (AMZN) posted quarterly net sales of $125.6 billion, up 44% from the same period in the prior year and well ahead of the $119.7 billion Wall Street analysts had projected.

Net income in the quarter hit $7.2 billion — nearly double the $3.7 billion Wall Street predicted and more than double the $3.3 billion in income the company earned in the year-ago quarter.

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Bezos is currently the second richest man in the world, standing behind Elon Musk who became the world’s richest last month – a position Bezos occupied before then after taking over from Bill Gates.