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Jeff Bezos

Why did Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos decide to step down?

He was predicted to become world’s first trillionaire by 2026. But Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest person on earth, has decided to step down as Amazon CEO, handing over the reins to Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon’s cloud business. Bezos will become executive chairman of the company. The transition will not be immediate but later this year, it is slated for the third quarter. Bezos reigned the company as a CEO since 1996.

While the world could be surprised by the announcement, the buzz was there at the Amazon headquarters in Seattle for quite some time. According to the Wall Street Journal report, he had hinted at moving to a new role around six months ago. And was not actively involved in day-to-day management.

The succession plan

As it seems, the succession plan was underway since 2016, when Jeff Bezos promoted his two top aides, Andy Jassy and Jeff Wilke, naming them CEOs of Amazon Web Services and Amazon worldwide consumer business respectively. The two were gradually granted authority over the company’s routine operations, while Bezos spent more time on Amazon Studios and nascent businesses of Amazon.

Finally, an announcement was made by Jeff Bezos on 3 February 2021 in a note to employees posted on Amazon website. However, he made it clear that he was not going to retire soon, ‘As much as I still tap dance into the office, I’m excited about this transition. As Executive Chairman 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. I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring.’

Amazon is worth $1.7 trillion

The announcement came on the back of Amazon’s 2020 fourth-quarter financial report in which the company recorded a 44% increase in net sales touching $125.6 billion compared with the fourth quarter in 2019. Whereas its net income in the full year 2020 increased to $21.3 billion compared with net income of $11.6 billion in 2019. Amazon’s stock reportedly has risen nearly 69% over the past year. The company has a value of $1.7 trillion today. 

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57-year-old Jeff Bezos founded Amazon, named after the river in South America, in his garage in 1994. It started as an online bookstore, but Princeton graduate Bezos always had a business plan to expand it to other products and services. Though, he was not sure of its unprecedented success then. He took $300,000 from his parents to launch the company and advised many early investors to be ready for it to fail or go bankrupt.

From $18 to above $3000 per share Journey

But only three years later in 1997 Amazon went public with an IPO. Then it was just $18 per share, now it trades at around $3312 per share. Because by 1999 Bezos diversified the company into selling music, DVDs, software, video games and many more products. 

Then over the years from free shipping to next day delivery to the launch of subscription-based program Amazon Prime, the company underwent colossal growth dominating the online retail market.

Amazon built on ideas & ideals of Bezos

Jeff Bezos championed innovation and reinvention adding on new ambitious projects like cloud computing, robotics, artificial intelligence and more. He started rocket company Blue Origin in 2000 which competes with Elon Musk‘s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) and bought the Washington Post in 2013.

Bezos built Amazon with his ideas and ideals, survived the onslaught of the 2000 dot-com bust and steered it to the growth trajectory even during Covid-19 pandemic.

Now taking a cue from the founders of the tech giants like Bill Gates and Larry Page, Jeff Bezos wants to devote himself to reinventing philanthropy.