Founder Jeff Bezos will step aside as CEO of Amazon later this year, the e-commerce giant announced Tuesday, with Amazon Web Services chief Andy Jassy set to take over the top title.
The company announced ahead of its latest quarterly earnings call that Bezos “will transition to the role of Executive Chair in the third quarter of 2021 and Andy Jassy will become Chief Executive Officer at that time.”
The announcement marks the biggest transition of power to date for the online behemoth, which rose from humble beginnings as an online book selling platform to become one of the first trillion-dollar companies in history, with a sprawling footprint across global commerce.
Bezos has faced intense scrutiny in Washington during his time helming one of the world’s most powerful and profitable companies, as well as for long holding the title of world’s richest man. The tech mogul in recent years became a frequent target for politicians of both major parties, including former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, who have taken aim at his vast wealth and at Amazon’s business practices.
“Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition,” Bezos said in a statement announcing the move.
The shake-up elevates Jassy, who in 2003 helped launch Amazon’s prominent cloud computing service, AWS, and in 2016 took over as its chief executive officer.
Jassy will take the mantle atop the tech giant as it faces unprecedented levels of scrutiny from policymakers and regulators around the world, including over allegations it has used its monopoly power to unfairly squelch competitors and mistreated its workforce.
Yet despite mounting calls by some lawmakers for regulators to break up the company, Jassy said as recently as 2019 that the company isn’t sweating that threat.
“We don’t spend a lot of time talking about it,” Jassy said of the possibility that federal regulators could spin off AWS from its parent company, Amazon, at the time.
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