Jeff Bezos to Step Down as Amazon C.E.O., Elevating Andy Jassy

SEATTLE – When Jeff Bezos founded an online bookseller by the name Amazon In 1994, he said that the most frequently asked question to him was “What is the Internet?”

Mr. Bezos responded by building Amazon into a $ 1.7 trillion behemoth that sold so many different items online that it became known as the “Everything Store”. In the process, he reformed the retail industry, transformed Amazon into a logistics giant, and expanded into cloud computing, streaming entertainment, and artificial intelligence-driven devices. For a time, he was the richest man in the world.

Mr. on Tuesday Bezos57, said his run at the top of the Seattle-based company was over.

As Amazon reported its latest set Blockbuster financial results, Mr. Bezos said he planned to hand over the reins this summer and a change in the role of executive chairman. 53-year-old Andy Jessie, chief executive of Amazon’s cloud computing division, will be promoted to run the entire company. The change will take effect in the third quarter beginning in July.

“As much as I still dance in the office, I’m excited about this transition,” Mr. Bezos wrote In an email to Amazon employees. As executive chairman, he said, he intends to “focus my energy and new products and initial initiatives.”

Changing the guard is set to ripple beyond Amazon, which Mr. Bezos has maintained for more than two decades. His influence on corporate America and his memory of how to sell goods transformed him into one of the world’s most influential technology and business leaders, as well as being known as the founders of Apple and Microsoft, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates goes. Mr. Bezos’ personal wealth also increased to $ 188 billion, which was Elon Musk crossed last month only.

In recent years, Mr. Bezos had moved a lot beyond Amazon’s day-to-day business, handing those responsibilities to two main deputies, including Mr. Jessie. He had instead focused on Amazon’s future and personal projects. In 2013, he Washington Post bought, And has said that he spends more than $ 1 billion per year on his space travel company Blue Origin.

Two years ago, that too Got divorced And it is done A stabilizer of the tabloid, Which emphasized their increasingly visible social lives, including supertatches owned by billionaires such as Barry Diller.

But epidemic Pulled back Mr. Bezos Last spring in Amazon’s daily operations. As Amazon struggles with a flood of e-commerce demands, labor unrest and supply chain challenges brought by Coronavirus, Mr. Bezos organizes daily calls to help make decisions about inventory, talk to government officials and Make A much publicized trip to one of Amazon’s warehouses.

Amazon has now stabilized, and its growth accelerated as more people turned to e-commerce and the company’s Prime Fast-Shipping program, which has more than 150 million members. Amazon posted a record $ 125.6 billion in sales in the fourth quarter on Tuesday, while profits doubled to $ 7.2 billion from a year earlier. It was the first time the company made more than $ 100 billion in sales in a quarter.

Amazon shows no signs of pulling back from its ambition to push into more corners of the economy. On a call with investment analysts, Amazon’s finance chief, Brian Olsavsky, said the company had “pre-invested” ahead of future growth. He said Amazon would continue to spend more on cloud computing infrastructure and groceries, and would expand its logistics operations – especially its fast-growing last-mile distribution network, which relies on One and a half million contract drivers To deliver the package.

Mr. Bezos is not expected to disappear from Amazon. “Jeff is really not going anywhere,” said Allsevsky, adding that “the change is more of a reorganization of what” is not doing. “

Mr. Bezos will remain Amazon’s largest shareholder – he owns 10.6 percent of the company, according to filming – and remains on the board of directors.

His exit as chief executive was “a personal decision for him”, Mr Olesavsky said. “The CEO role is a ubiquitous role in a place like Amazon, and it leaves very little time for other things.”

Other founders of Internet companies that have become the world’s largest digital gatekeepers have also stepped back from their day-to-day responsibilities as their fortunes shone and they put more energy towards personal projects. In 2019, Larry Page and Sergey BrinStanford graduate students who founded Google left their executive roles at Alphabet, Google’s parent company. He entrusted the reins to a beautiful, beautiful Pichai.

While Mr. Bezos is moving to a high point for Amazon’s business, the company faces many challenges. Amazon is under scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators around the world as to whether it is misappropriating its hold.

in November, EU regulators accuse of antitrust Against Amazon, the company broke competition laws by using its size and data to harm small merchants who rely on the company to reach customers. And on the first Tuesday, Amazon agreed to pay $ 62 million The Federal Trade Commission settled the allegations that it withdrew suggestions for delivery to drivers between 2016 and 2019.

Amazon has also grown with increasing labor unrest as its work force forces 1.3 million employees. Last year, some warehouse employees at the company expressed discomfort with the security situation amid the epidemic, forcing Amazon to take emergency action and operate more aggressively. More recently, Bessemer, Ala. Have been workers in an Amazon fulfillment center Trying to organize a union.

And the competition is stiff. Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and own industry-changing company, recently introduced a competitor named Amazon Prime Walmart +. It has made a large investment in talent and technology to keep pace with Amazon and buy And a group of other e-commerce companies.

The Amazon announcement marks the second major executive transition at the company in the past year. in August, Jeff willkeAmazon’s CEO is Large consumer business, He said he planned to retire in early 2021 after more than two decades with the company. Dave Clarke, who ran the fulfillment and logistics operations, was promoted to replace.

Mr. Jessie had long been Mr. Bezos’ trusted lieutenant. Growing up in New York, Mr. Jesse joined Amazon in 1997 when it was still a start-up and took on different roles as an extension of the company.

In the early 2000s, Mr. Jessie became Mr. Bezos’ “shadow”, accompanying him to meetings and business trips. He eventually laid the foundation for the cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services, which he developed as an engine of innovation and profit. The cloud business generated $ 45 billion in sales last year, up 30 percent from a year earlier.

Mr. Jessie and Mr. Clarke have spent nearly their entire careers on Amazon and are deeply aware of it. Unique corporate culture. Mr. Olesavsky said the board discussed plans for succession at least every year, and was clear about the company’s structure and the increasing number of people in the senior leadership team.

Mr. Olesavsky said that Amazon would announce Mr. Jessie’s successor as head of the cloud business in the coming months.

“You really had to choose someone inside for this company, and Andy is the right choice,” said Matt McElwain, managing director of Madrowen Venture Group, an early investor.

Mr McIllen said he was somewhat surprised by the transition, but not the result.

“It seemed that Jeff, especially in the last year, was more engaged in business, so I didn’t feel Jeff was ready,” he said. “But I think if Jeff got ready, Andy would be the one.”

Sapna Maheshwari Contributed to reporting.

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