Jeff Bezos has announced that he would step down as the chief executive officer of Amazon in the third quarter of 2021. In a letter, Bezos said he would “stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives” but would pivot towards philanthropic initiatives, including his Day One Fund and Bezos Earth Fund, and other business ventures in space exploration (Blue Origin) and journalism (The Washington Post).
The 57-year-old executive was further quick to announce Andy Jassy as his successor, who also heads Amazon Web Services – one of Amazon’s most profitable ventures. Similarly, several leaders and tech CEOs took to social media to congratulate Jassy on his new role, and send their best wishes to Bezos.
Jeff Bezos announced that he will step down as CEO of Amazon, the company he founded 27 years ago as an “internet bookstore” and grew into an e-commerce giant with more than 1.3 million employees.
After stepping away from his “time consuming” role at the helm of Amazon, Bezos said he’ll focus on his other projects and initiatives, including The Washington Post, his aerospace company Blue Origin, and his nonprofits focused on climate change and homelessness
Bezos informed employees of the online retail giant in a farewell letter, sent by email.
Below the full text:
I am excited to announce that in the third quarter I will be transitioning to being the CEO of Amazon’s board of directors. Andy Jassy will become the CEO. In my new role, I intend to focus my energies and my attention on new products and initiatives in the early stages.. Andy is known within the company and has been with Amazon almost as long as I have. He will be an excellent leader and he has all my confidence.
This journey started around 27 years ago. Amazon was just an idea and had no name. The question they asked me the most at that time was, “What is the internet?” Fortunately, I haven’t had to explain that to anyone in a long time..
We currently employ 1.3 million dedicated and talented individuals, serve hundreds of millions of clients and companies, and we are widely recognized as one of the most successful companies in the world.
How did this happen? Invention. Invention is the source of our success. We did crazy things together, and then we made them normal. We pioneered customer reviews, one-click personalized recommendations, the blazingly fast Prime shipping service, the Just Walk Out merchant automation program, Climate Promise, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, infrastructure and computing on the cloud, Career Choice, and much more. If things are done correctly, a few years after an amazing invention, it becomes normal. People yawn. And that yawn is the highest compliment an inventor can get.
I don’t know of another company that has the amount of inventions that Amazon has, and I think we’re currently at our best when it comes to inventiveness. I hope you are as proud of our inventiveness as I am. I think they should be.
As Amazon got bigger, we decided to use our size and reach to fill leadership roles on important social issues. Two high-impact examples: our $ 15 minimum wage and the Climate Promise. In both cases, we fill leadership roles and then ask others to join us. In both cases, things are working. Other companies are taking the same path as us. I hope you are proud of that too.
I think my work is fun and has impact. I have the possibility to work with the most intelligent, talented and resourceful colleagues. During the good times, they were humble. When they were tough, they have been strong and supportive, and we’ve made each other laugh. Working on this team is a joy.
Even though I continue to dance as I enter my office, I am eager to begin this transition. Millions of clients depend on our services and more than a million employees depend on us for their livelihoods. Being the CEO of Amazon is a huge responsibility, and it has a draining effect. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to pay attention to anything else. As CEO I will continue to be involved in important initiatives, but I will 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 than now, and this has nothing to do with retiring. I am deeply passionate about the impact these organizations can have.
Amazon couldn’t be in a better position going forward. We are moving forward at full speed, just as the world needs us to. We have things that we are preparing and that will continue to surprise. We serve individuals and businesses, and have pioneered two entire industries and a new class of devices.. We are leaders in various areas, such as machine learning and logistics, and if the idea of a Amazonian requires another institutional skill, we are flexible and patient enough to learn it.
Keep inventing and don’t be discouraged when the idea seems crazy at first. Remember to wander. Let curiosity be your compass. It’s still the first day.