Jeff Bezos is stepping down as chief executive of Amazon in the third quarter of 2021 and will be replaced by Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy, the e-commerce behemoth announced Tuesday. Bezos will transition to the role of executive chair of the board.
“Amazon is what it is because of invention. We do crazy things together and then make them normal,” Bezos said in a statement. “Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition.”
News of the CEO transition came as Amazon reported fourth quarter earnings results, delivering $125.56 billion in revenue and pushing past the symbolic $100 billion mark for the first time following the holiday shopping and pandemic surge. The tech giant outperformed analyst expectations, with earnings of $14.09 per share versus the $7.23 expected. Its reported revenue also beat analyst forecasts of $119.7 billion.
Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 and saw it grow from an online bookstore to a mega online retailer. He transformed the way people shop, created trillions of dollars in shareholder value, and became the richest person in the world in the process.
Jassy joined Amazon in 1997 and has led Amazon’s cloud team since its inception.
Bezos plans to stay engaged in important Amazon projects, but said he will now have more time to focus on the Bezos Earth Fund, the Blue Origin spaceship company, The Washington Post, and the Amazon Day 1 Fund.
How the Stock Holds Up
Studies about how companies' share prices perform once the founder and CEO step aside present mixed results, given that those chief executives stepped aside for various reasons. Sometimes the company is in bad shape and in need of new leadership. Sometimes there's a scandal and the boss has to go. But leaving those variables aside and just focusing on a few juggernaut companies that were closely tied to the personality of the founder, most have gone on to much better days, assuming the boss didn't abandon ship in the middle of a recession.
We tracked the share price performance of Apple (Steve Jobs), Microsoft (Bill Gates), Oracle (Larry Ellison), Nike (Phil Knight), and Schwab (Charles Schwab) on a one-, three-, and five-year timeline to see how they did. Nothing comes close to what Tim Cook has done at Apple — and one can argue that like Bezos at Amazon, Steve Jobs built an indefensible moat around his juggernaut.