Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos on Monday handed over his CEO title to Andy Jassy, ending a more than two-decade run leading the company through its evolution from online bookseller to $1.75 trillion global retail, logistics and internet behemoth. Bezos has served as the CEO of Amazon since founding the company exactly 27 years ago on July 5, 1994 . The July 5 handover date was previously announced in a shareholder meeting in May.
Jassy, who has been with Amazon since 1997, has led the company's cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, since 2003. Bezos will remain executive chairman and the company's biggest shareholder. Jassy has worked closely with Bezos since Amazon's early days. In addition, in the early 2000s, Jassy spent time in a position referred to at the time as Bezos' "shadow," a role similar to a corporate chief of staff, which was designed to train promising young executives.
Total Retail's Take: Bezos' exit as CEO comes at a critical time for Amazon. The pandemic, for example, created massive demand for its services, leading to jumps in profits and hiring. But at the same time, Amazon's explosive growth has also heightened the attention of regulators, some of whom believe it has gotten too big. In fact, one of Jassy's first orders of business will be to guide Amazon through antitrust concerns. It's unclear why Bezos decided to step down as CEO now, but not having the richest man on Earth at the company's helm may help it better weather some of the scrutiny it's now facing, some experts say.
Bezos, however, won’t be fading into obscurity anytime soon. As Amazon’s executive chair, he will “stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives,” according to his 2020 letter to shareholders. He has also said he plans to dedicate more time and energy to other initiatives such as the Day One Fund and Bezos Earth Fund foundations, The Washington Post newspaper, and his Blue Origin space company. In the immediate future, Bezos will fly to the edge of space onboard a rocket built by Blue Origin on July 20.