The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, said today that he will step down as CEO of Amazon, leaving the helm of the company he founded 27 years ago.
Bezos will transition to the role of executive chair in the third quarter of this year. Andy Jassy, the chief executive of Amazon Web Services, will take over as CEO of Amazon.
In a memo to employees, Bezos said the transition will give him “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.”
In a statement, Bezos called it “an optimal time for this transition.”
The announcement set off alarm bells on Wall Street and throughout the business community, though the transition does not necessarily portend any significant change to Amazon’s business. Amazon reported a year of record growth on Tuesday including a 38 percent increase in net sales from 2019, netting the company $21 billion in income, nearly double from the year before. Investors didn’t seem fazed by the news, either. Amazon’s share price was almost unchanged following the announcement.
It remains to be seen how active Bezos will be in Amazon’s business in his new role. Several major tech executives have stepped down as CEO and remained intimately involved in their companies’ business, including Larry Ellison at Oracle and Bill Gates at Microsoft.