Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos will step down from his post in the third quarter of 2021 and be replaced by Andy Jassy, the head of the company’s cloud computing unit.
Jassy for years has been seen as a potential successor to Bezos, who founded the company as an online bookstore from his Seattle garage more than 25 years ago and became one of the world’s wealthiest men. Jassy’s likelihood as successor seemed inevitable last year when Jeff Wilke, who was the company’s consumer business chief and was also seen as a potential successor, announced he’d be leaving the company this year.
Bezos, the company’s driving force since its founding, will become executive chairman, Amazon said Tuesday in a statement.
The transition arrives at time when Amazon seems unstoppable, fueled by record sales amid the pandemic and generating massive cash and profits from the cloud services business Jassy helped create and manage. Bezos isn’t going far, much the way Bill Gates remained chairman of Microsoft Corp. after ceding the CEO role.
“When you look at our financial results, what you’re actually seeing are the long-run cumulative results of invention,” Bezos said in a statement. “Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition.”assy
The reaction on Wall Street was mostly positive, even as Amazon turned in another blockbuster quarter and solid guidance.
The online retailer reported fourth-quarter sales jumped 44% to $125.6 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $119.7 billion. Earnings were $14.09 per share, compared with analyst projections of $7.34.