Jeff Bezos is stepping down as CEO of Amazon later this year, the company said on Tuesday, 30 years after holding that role. The online company said he'll be replaced in the fall of 2021 by Andy Jassy, who currently runs Amazon's cloud business.
Once he relinquishes his position, Bezos will become the Seattle based firm's executive chairman.
Jassy joined Amazon just days after his final MBA exam at Harvard Business School in 1997. Although Amazon is best known for its e-commerce, the US tech giant's web services division (AWS) has become the world's dominant cloud provider, with Jassy at the helm since he founded the platform in 2006.
Industry analysts have estimated that revenue generated by AWS will reach US$ 71 billion (€59 billion) in 2022, which would give the division a valuation of about US$350 billion.
Bezos said he intends to concentrate more on his philanthropic work, as well as space and media projects. I've never had more energy, and this isn't about retiring, Bezos said in a letter to employees.
The 57-year-old founded Amazon as an online bookstore and turned it into a behemoth that sells anything from spark plugs to cuddly toys. In the process, he became one of the world's richest people, with Amazon Prime also expanding into the online streaming of movies, series and live sports.
And Bezos said his decision to step down as CEO was based in part on his desire to focus on Blue Origin, the company which aims to make access to space cheaper and more reliable through reusable launch vehicles.
As Exec Chair, his letter continued, 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.
While the Bezos Earth Fund initiative has been applauded by many for its efforts to combat climate change, critics have questioned Amazon's support for oil and gas businesses.