What started out as an online bookstore became an e-commerce behemoth. Now, after nearly 30 years at the helm, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is passing the baton for new leadership that will set the stage for the company’s future.
Bezos announced the move in an email to employees on Tuesday. Bezos will assume the role of executive chairman with Andy Jassy, who leads Amazon Web Services, stepping up to fill the role of Amazon CEO in Q3.
“As Exec Chair I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have 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,” Bezos wrote. “I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring. I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have.”
The announcement comes in step with Amazon’s strong Q4 earnings report, with record-breaking revenues. For the first time, the company crossed the $100 billion quarterly threshold, securing $125 billion in revenue and $7.2 billion in net profits, up from $3.3 billion the year prior. Success was propelled by both the holiday season rush and the increased demand for e-commerce that has sustained throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The broad shift in behaviors caused by COVID-19, new fast-growing technologies like e-commerce and cloud, as well as disruptive innovations like Alexa, and the promise of Amazon Go technology has all led to this milestone moment,” Hilding Anderson, Head of Retail Strategy at Publicis Sapient, told City A.M.
Though Bezos is stepping away from day-to-day operations, he will remain a presence at Amazon. Further, the transition shows the future of Amazon’s growth in the market and the strategic investments or developments the company may make moving forward.
And, well, there’s a lot to consider. Aside from Amazon’s e-commerce platform, there’s also their stronghold in the cloud computing market with the AWS services that Jassy has propelled, increased investment in their advertising platform and Amazon Prime services, as well as their continued expansion into the brick-and-mortar space with WholeFoods and Amazon Go. Bezos’ decision to focus on more philanthropic efforts, like the Bezos Earth Fund and Day 1, could influence cultural shifts the company could take in the future – especially at a time where corporate responsibility and brand mission are more important to consumers than ever.
“Will Amazon continue to invest in Whole Foods and the Amazon Go platform?,” Anderson told Retail TouchPoints. “Or will he focus on the core ecommerce/mobile/AWS/advertising businesses?”