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


SEATTLE — When Jeff Bezos founded an online bookseller named Amazon in 1994, he said the question that he was asked most frequently was “What’s the internet?”

Mr. Bezos answered by building Amazon into a $1.7 trillion behemoth that sold so many different items online it became known as “the everything store.” In the process, he upended the retail industry, turned Amazon into a logistics giant, and expanded into cloud computing, streaming entertainment and artificial intelligence-powered devices. For a time, he was the world’s richest person.

On Tuesday, Mr. Bezos, 57, said his run at the top of the Seattle-based company was over.

As Amazon reported its latest set of blockbuster financial results, Mr. Bezos said he planned to hand over the reins this summer and transition into the role of executive chairman. Andy Jassy, 53, the chief executive of Amazon’s cloud computing division, will be promoted to run the entire company. The change will be effective in the third quarter, which starts in July.

While Mr. Bezos is leaving at a high point for Amazon’s business, the company faces multiple challenges. Amazon is under growing scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators around the world over whether it is unfairly wielding its clout.

In November, European Union regulators brought antitrust charges against Amazon, saying the company broke competition laws by using its size and access to data to harm smaller merchants that rely on the company to reach customers. And earlier on Tuesday, Amazon agreed to pay $62 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle charges that it withheld tips to delivery drivers between 2016 and 2019.

Amazon has also grappled with growing labor unrest as its work force has ballooned to 1.3 million employees. Last year, some of the company’s warehouse workers expressed discomfort with safety conditions amid the pandemic, forcing Amazon to undertake emergency actions and to hire even more aggressively. More recently, workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Ala., have been trying to organize a union.

And competition remains stiff. Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and itself an industry-transforming force, recently introduced a competitor to Amazon Prime called Walmart+. It has made major investments in talent and technology to keep pace with Amazon, buying Jet.com and a slew of other e-commerce companies.

Amazon’s announcement marks the second major executive transition at the company in the past year. In August, Jeff Wilke, the chief executive of Amazon’s vast consumer business, said he planned to retire in early 2021 after more than two decades with the company. Dave Clark, who ran the fulfillment and logistics operations, was promoted to replace him.

Mr. Jassy has long been a trusted lieutenant to Mr. Bezos. Mr. Jassy, who grew up in New York, joined Amazon in 1997 when it was still a start-up and took on different roles as the company expanded.



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