Jeff Bezos Officially Steps Down as CEO of Amazon

Longtime Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who has helmed the company since its founding in 1994, has officially handed over his title to former Amazon Web Services head Andy Jassy. Bezos remains linked to the company as its Executive Chair.

Jassy, 53, first joined Amazon in 1997 and led Amazon Web Services since its inception in 2003. He was named CEO of the division in 2016, which research indicates controls about a third of the cloud computing market.

Bezos said in May that he decided to step down on July 5, as it holds special meaning.

“We chose that date, because it’s a sentimental one for me. It’s the date that Amazon was incorporated in 1994, exactly 27 years ago,” he said at Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting.

Bezos first announced his departure in February, after helping build the company over 27 years into one of the largest and most successful e-commerce platforms in the world.

“In the Exec Chair role, I intend to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives,” he wrote in a letter to Amazon employees. “Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have. He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence.”

Bezos explained that the role of being Amazon’s CEO is “consuming,” and that he intends to devote more time to his other business ventures.

“Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming,” he said. “When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else. As Exec Chair 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.”

Bezos is currently the richest person in the world and has a net worth of $197 billion USD. The 57-year-old’s next role will be passenger aboard Blue Origin‘s first commercial spaceflight on July 20. Bezos will fly alongside his brother Mark, a mystery auction winner who bought a seat for $28 million USD, and Wally Funk, an 82-year-old who has spent the past six decades trying to get to space.

In other news, Richard Branson is making his own space voyage aboard Virgin Galactic’s Unity 22 mission on July 11.
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