Jeff Bezos at the Statue of Liberty Museum opening celebration in New York City. Editorial credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com
In a titanic shakeup, Jeff Bezos has announced he will vacate the top spot at the e-commerce behemoth he founded 27 years ago. In an email sent to employees, Bezos said in Q3 2021 he will transition to become the Executive Chair of the Amazon Board, while Andy Jassy will become CEO.
Bezos stated that he intends to use the transition to refocus his time on “new projects and early initiatives.” He added, “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.”
The Amazon founder’s replacement is a familiar name to Amazon employees, as he has been with the tech titan since 1997 and currently serves as the CEO of AWS, Amazon’s cloud computing subsidiary. In his email, Bezos said serving as the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility and that Jassy will be an outstanding leader who has his full confidence.
"Amazon couldn’t be better positioned for the future." Bezos stated. "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. Keep inventing, and don’t despair when at first the idea looks crazy. Remember to wander. Let curiosity be your compass. It remains Day 1.”
The transition was made public alongside the company’s Q4 and Full Year 2020 earnings announcement, which revealed the company’s net sales increased to $386.1 billion in 2020, up 38% from $280.5 billion in 2019. The company expects its net sales growth to continue into Q1 2021 and total between $100 billion and $106 billion, a 33% to 40% year-over-year increase.
Despite the financial success, 2020 held some sore spots for the e-commerce titan. In November 2020, Europe's top antitrust watchdog accused Amazon of violating competition law, building on Bezos’ July 2020 appearance before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee where he was confronted with questions about the company's competitive practices. Additionally, the company has faced continued criticism for its reportedly tough anti-union tactics and allegedly grueling workplace conditions.
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