Jeff Bezos to Step Down as Amazon CEO; Andy Jassy to Take Over

Jeff Bezos is stepping down as chief govt of Amazon. AMZN 1.11% com Inc. to grow to be govt chairman, marking the largest change in management of the tech large since he began it in a Washington state storage greater than 26 years in the past.

Amazon mentioned on Tuesday that he might be succeeded as CEO within the third quarter by Andy Jassy, Mr. Bezos’s closest lieutenant and the longtime head of the corporate’s booming cloud-computing enterprise.

Mr. Bezos, 57 years previous, is handing over the day-to-day reins, as Amazon’s core companies of on-line retail and business-computing providers are booming in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has shifted work and life to the web greater than ever. The corporate introduced his altering position because it reported that income within the fourth quarter soared 44% to $125.56 billion—surpassing $100 billion for the primary time in a three-month span—and revenue greater than doubled.

However Amazon additionally faces the largest regulatory challenges in its historical past, with a number of federal investigations into its aggressive practices and lawmakers drafting laws that might power Amazon to restructure its enterprise. Rigidity with regulators and lawmakers has straight embroiled Mr. Bezos, who was referred to as to testify in entrance of Congress final summer season for the primary time.

Mr. Bezos’s management of Amazon has made him some of the revered, and feared, leaders in enterprise, in addition to fantastically rich. He’s presently neck-and-neck together with his rival rocket entrepreneur, Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk, because the world’s wealthiest individual. Forbes lists Mr. Bezos’s wealth at greater than $196 billion.

Altering of the Guard at Amazon

In an e-mail to workers made public Tuesday, Mr. Bezos mentioned he plans to focus his vitality now on new merchandise and early initiatives in addition to his outdoors pursuits. “Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep accountability, and it’s consuming,” Mr. Bezos wrote. “When you have got a accountability like that, it’s onerous to place consideration on the rest.”

Mr. Bezos’s transfer makes Amazon the most recent of right this moment’s tech giants to transition management away from the individuals who began them. The co-founders of Google stepped again from their administration roles at its dad or mum Alphabet Inc. in 2019, and each Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have lengthy been run by successors to their founders.

Mr. Bezos left a profession on Wall Road to begin Amazon.com in 1994 as a scrappy on-line bookseller throughout a time when most People didn’t personal computer systems. Amazon turned an against-all-odds success story that will go on to utterly disrupt the bookselling business together with almost each different business in its path, from logistics to promoting. The corporate right this moment is America’s largest on-line retailer, the main supplier of cloud-computing providers, a big participant in Hollywood, a competitor in bricks-and-mortar groceries by way of its Entire Meals subsidiary, and a rising rival to United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. in logistics. Amazon employs almost 1.three million individuals.

The chief imbued the Seattle-based firm with a “Day 1” philosophy of all the time sustaining an underdog startup ethos. Nonetheless, in recent times, Mr. Bezos has stepped again from day-to-day administration of the tech large—with a short pause when he turned extra actively concerned within the early days of the pandemic. Many in his internal circle describe Mr. Bezos’s position over the previous few years as akin to that of an govt chairman. The chief famously tries to not schedule conferences earlier than 10 a.m. and to make all of his robust choices earlier than 5 p.m. Amazon workers say the billionaire is elusive, with many saying they’ve by no means noticed him on the corporate’s sprawling downtown Seattle campus.

In 2016, he appointed two of his prime deputies to supervise administration of each day operations. Jeff Wilke was named CEO of world-wide client at Amazon, overseeing all the pieces from Amazon’s retail arm and warehouses to its promoting and units enterprise. Mr. Jassy was CEO of the cloud enterprise, referred to as Amazon Net Companies.

Greater and Increased

Amazon has grown through the years, as has its inventory value.

Share value, weekly

2017

Entire Meals acquisition introduced; launched a plan to determine a second company headquarters in North America

2014

Echo introduced

2007

Kindle introduced

2006

AWS launched

2005

Amazon Prime

2017

Entire Meals acquisition introduced; launched a plan to determine a second company headquarters in North America

2014

Echo introduced

2007

Kindle introduced

2006

AWS launched

2005

Amazon Prime

2017

Entire Meals acquisition introduced; launched a plan to determine a second company headquarters in North America

2014

Echo introduced

2007

Kindle introduced

2006

AWS launched

2005

Amazon Prime

2017

Entire Meals acquisition introduced; launched a plan to determine a second company headquarters in North America

2014

Echo introduced

2007

Kindle introduced

2006

AWS launched

2005

Amazon Prime

The appointments freed up Mr. Bezos to commit time to improvements and moonshots. He took on pet tasks akin to Amazon’s voice assistant product, the Echo, and hung out with Amazon’s studio executives on what motion pictures and tv applications it had within the pipeline.

Mr. Bezos’s tightknit group of prime lieutenants at Amazon has seen its ranks skinny out previously few years. Along with Mr. Wilke’s departure at the start of the yr, Jeff Blackburn, a 20-year veteran and member of Mr. Bezos’s crew of prime executives, took a sabbatical in 2020. Steve Kessel, one other member of Mr. Bezos’s prime executives, retired from the corporate final yr.

Past Amazon, Mr. Bezos purchased the Washington Publish in 2013 and has spent a large chunk of his time at Blue Origin LLC, the area firm he based. Whereas the coronavirus pandemic re-engaged Mr. Bezos, as the corporate needed to take care of unprecedented demand, he remained concerned with Blue Origin’s mission. Simply final week Mr. Bezos posted a photograph on Instagram of a “hotfire check” of a Blue Origin engine.

Mr. Bezos, a father of 4 kids, additionally has skilled a significant transition in his private life lately. In 2019, Mr. Bezos and his spouse divorced and the Nationwide Enquirer tabloid reported his affair with a former tv reporter who was the spouse of a Hollywood govt.

The management transition at Amazon will happen because it grapples with unprecedented scrutiny.

Andy Jassy, CEO of the cloud enterprise Amazon Net Companies, will succeed Jeff Bezos as chief govt of Amazon.com.

Picture: KAMIL BIALOUS for The Wall Road Journal

The corporate is presently the topic of probes from the Justice Division, the Federal Commerce Fee, the European Union and different governing companies about whether or not it participates in anticompetitive practices.

In October, the Home Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee—earlier than which Mr. Bezos testified in July—concluded its 16-month investigation into the largest U.S. tech corporations. Its report accused Amazon of exerting “monopoly energy” over sellers on its web site and urged laws that might trigger Amazon to exit enterprise strains—like its private-label or units companies—that compete with sellers on its platform.

In response to the Congressional report, Amazon mentioned: “All giant organizations appeal to the eye of regulators, and we welcome that scrutiny. However giant corporations aren’t dominant by definition, and the presumption that success can solely be the results of anticompetitive conduct is solely improper.”

On Tuesday, a member of the committee, Ken Buck (R., Colo.), tweeted Amazon’s announcement saying: “I’ve some questions for Mr. Jassy,” indicating that the brand new CEO will inherit a lot of the regulatory scrutiny from his predecessor.

Write to Dana Mattioli at dana.mattioli@wsj.com

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