Jeff Bezos is stepping down from the helm of the company he founded in 1994.
Amazon announced that Bezos will transition from CEO to the role of executive chair in the third quarter of 2021. He will be succeeded by Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services, the company's fast-growing cloud computing business.
In a statement, Bezos said that Amazon is currently at its "most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition."
The news was announced as the online giant reported that its fourth-quarter net sales jumped 44% to $125.6 billion —its largest quarter by revenue to date. Earnings came in at $14.09 per share compared to the $7.23 per share forecast by analysts. Amazon attributed its blockbuster quarter to a "record-breaking holiday season,” during which it delivered more than a billion products to shoppers worldwide. Continued accelerated e-commerce demand amid the pandemic and a pandemic-delayed Prime Day also contributed to the record quarter.
Full-year net sales rose 38% to $386.1 billion.
Here is Bezos' full statement.
“Amazon is what it is because of invention. We do crazy things together and then make them normal. We pioneered customer reviews, 1-Click, personalized 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 do it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. People yawn. That yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive. When you look at our financial results, what you’re actually seeing are the long-run cumulative results of invention. Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition.”
In an email to Amazon employees announcing the news, Bezos said he will spend more time focusing on new products and early initiatives.
“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,” he wrote. “I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring. I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have.”