Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, will be stepping down from his role in the third quarter of 2021 and transition to executive chairman of Amazon’s board. According to a statement released, Bezos will be succeeded by Andy Jassy, who currently leads Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Jassy joined Amazon in 1997 and has led Amazon’s Web Services cloud team since its inception and has overseen the growth of AWS into a cash cow and the world’s biggest cloud computing provider. He is an obvious choice for the top job, especially after Jeff Wilke, the head of the company’s worldwide consumer division and another veteran Amazon leader, announced his retirement in August.
Bezos, 57, founded Amazon in 1994 and has since over the two decades expanded its growth from an online bookseller into a USD1.7 trillion mega-retailer with global reach from gadgets to groceries to streaming.
In a letter to employees published online, Bezos said he is excited of the transition. 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 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,” he wrote.
The news came in tandem with Amazon’s earnings report in which the company posted its first USD100 billion quarter. AWS, under Jassy, reported 28% revenue growth for the fourth quarter. About 52% of Amazon’s operating income was attributed to AWS as of October 2020.
The ecommerce giant posted quarterly net sales of USD125.6 billion, up 44% from the same period in the prior year and well ahead of the USD119.7 billion Wall Street analysts had projected. Its net income in the quarter hit USD7.2 billion – nearly double the USD3.7 billion than predicted and more than double the USD3.3 billion in income the company earned in the year-ago quarter.
The quarterly results include sales from Prime Day, which was held October 13-14 after being postponed over the summer because of the pandemic. As for the full year, Amazon reported net sales increased 38% to USD386.1 billion, more than USD6 billion more than analysts had projected. Net income for 2020 reached USD21.3 billion, or USD41.83 per diluted share, an increase of nearly 84% from a year earlier.
The cloud computing market is expected to expand even further in coming years as the pandemic accelerates companies’ adoption of cloud, as they aim to be more effective in an era of digital-first interactions.