Jeff Bezos will step down as CEO of Amazon, moving to the role of executive chairman in the third quarter of 2021. Current Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy will become the company’s new boss.

The tech giant announced the move today in financial results.

Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 with backing from his parents, establishing an online book store and quickly expanding into other products. He took the company public three years later eventually building it into the world’s biggest online retailer and making Bezos the world’s second richest person.

Later this year Bezos will hand the keys to Andy Jassy, the current head of the company’s cloud arm Amazon Web Services.

Jassy joined Amazon in 1997, founding AWS and growing it to be the cloud market leader used by millions. The AWS CEO has preached a culture of reinvention and responding to customer feedback while leading AWS.

Bezos steps back

In a letter to employees today, Bezos said he had full confidence in Jassy and he will be an “outstanding leader” of the tech behemoth.

Bezos said his move to executive chair of the Amazon Board would allow him more time to focus on other areas but he will maintain focus on Amazon, particularly to new products and early initiatives.

The Amazon founder attributed the company’s success to a culture of invention.

“We’ve done crazy things together, and then made them normal,” the outgoing Bezos told employees.

“We pioneered customer reviews, 1-Click, personalised recommendations, Prime’s insanely-fast shipping, Just Walk Out shopping, the Climate Pledge, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, infrastructure cloud computing, Career Choice, and much more. If you get it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. People yawn. And that yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive.”

Financial results

The leadership change was announced as part of the company’s fourth quarter 2020 results.

The pandemic proved a boon for Amazon and Bezos, who retains more than US$170 billion worth of stock in the company despite cashing out more than US$10 billion last year.

Amazon reported US$125.6 billion in sales in Q4, a 44 per cent jump on 2019.

For the full year, Amazon’s net income nearly doubled n 2020 to US$21.3 billion

AWS increased sales in 2020 by over US$10 billion, reporting a US$13.5 billion operating income for the year.

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