Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Will Step Down as CEO on July 5

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will officially leave his position as chief executive on July 5, and Amazon Web Services chief executive Andy Jassy will take over the Amazon CEO position. The departure of Bezos was originally announced in a February earnings report but a specific date was not revealed. Bezos said July 5 is “sentimental” because it was the date Amazon was incorporated in 1994. Bezos will become executive chair, focusing his attention on “new products and early initiatives.” He said he expects Jassy to be “an outstanding leader.”

CNN reports Bezos added that Jassy, who has worked at Amazon for 24 years, “has the highest of high standards and I guarantee Andy will never let the universe make us typical … He has the energy needed to keep alive in us what has made us special.”

At the top of AWS, Jassy will be replaced by Tableau chief executive Adam Selipsky. CNN notes that, “Jassy will take over an increasingly complex and scrutinized business, as evidenced both by news early Wednesday that Amazon is buying MGM for $8.45 billion and by some of the issues raised at the shareholder meeting shortly after.” The latter included shareholders voting down a proposal to allow “an hourly fulfillment associate to serve on the company’s board.”

At the shareholder meeting, Bezos also responded to a question about “the massive size of Amazon’s business,” especially considering a new District of Columbia antitrust lawsuit. “I’d say we face intense competition from well-established companies everywhere we do business, in every industry,” Bezos said. “[Retail is] a very healthy industry and it’s far from a winner-take-all situation.”

Jassy will also have to manage the company’s “telehealth offering, Amazon Care, and its satellite Internet effort, Project Kuiper.” Bezos noted that, “none of these ideas are guaranteed to work … All of them are gigantic investments and they’re all risks.”

The Verge reports Bezos stated that, “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 One Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions.” Jassy, it points out, was brought on at Amazon to explore “what would become AWS,” in 2003. Since then, AWS has become a huge source of revenue, earning $13.5 billion last quarter.

In addition to the DC lawsuit, Amazon is facing “increased demands of company leadership” from its employees, and it is “also dealing with the aftermath of a contentious union drive in Bessemer, Alabama,” that ultimately failed. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union has, however, launched an appeal.

Jeff Bezos Assures Shareholders They’re in Good Hands at Final Meeting as CEO, CNBC, 5/26/21
Jeff Bezos Just Announced He’s Stepping Down as Amazon CEO in Exactly 39 Days. Here’s the Reason Why, Inc., 5/27/21
How a Small Antitrust Lawsuit Against Amazon Could Mean Big Things for Big Tech, Vox, 5/25/21

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