Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced Tuesday that he will be stepping down from the company's top spot later this year. Succeeding him will be Andy Jassy, the current head of Amazon Web Services.
The man who founded Amazon in 1994 as an online bookstore, and led it to become a $1.6 trillion mega-retailer is not leaving the company entirely, but rather transitioning to become the executive chairman of its board.
"I'm excited to announce that this Q3 I'll transition to Executive Chair of the Amazon Board and Andy Jassy will become CEO," Bezos wrote to employees. "In the Exec Chair role, I intend to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives. Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have. He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence."
It had been widely expected that either Jassy or Jeff Wilke, the CEO of Amazon's worldwide consumer business, would succeed Bezos. But when Wilke announced he would retire sometime this year, Jassy became the logical frontrunner.
Bezos said he is looking forward to the opportunity to spend more time focusing on his other endeavors, like the Washington Post, Amazon Day 1 Fund, Bezos Earth Fund, and his Blue Origin space company.
"Millions of customers depend on us for our services, and more than a million employees depend on us for their livelihoods," Bezos said. "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."
The transition will be complete by the third quarter of 2021.