A hot potato: Amazon started life as a humble online bookstore, but it's grown to become one of the biggest multinational tech corporations in the world -- all under the watchful eye of founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. However, all of that is about to change. In an email sent off to his employees today, Bezos announced some important news: in the third quarter of 2021, he will be officially stepping down as CEO of Amazon, and will instead become the Executive Chair of the company's Board of Directors.
After 27 years of service, Bezos will hand over the company's reins to his friend and colleague, Andrew Jassy. Jassy is perhaps best known for founding Amazon's incredibly-popular Web Services (AWS) division.
AWS is a cloud computing platform that serves well over one million users; indeed, it's the reason many of your favorite websites and services are live today. AWS' success, coupled with Jassy's long tenure at Amazon -- he joined in 1997 -- have made it clear to Bezos that he's the best man for the job.
"Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have," Bezos writes in his announcement. "He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence."
The question on all of our minds now is... why? Why is Bezos leaving now, of all times? Amazon is in better financial shape than ever, and the soon-to-be-ex CEO is one of the wealthiest people on the planet.
Apparently, the answer is simple: time. Bezos is responsible for several companies and initiatives right now, including the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, and Blue Origin, to name a few. According to him, his role as the leader of Amazon simply doesn't leave him enough time and energy to give these other projects his all.
When he finally steps down from the leadership position, Bezos will be in a much better position to help those organizations thrive.
As mentioned before, Bezos' decision here does not represent a complete detachment from Amazon as a company. Upon becoming Chair of the Board, Bezos will still be able to retain some control and influence over Amazon's overall direction, without requiring him to be as present for the day-to-day operations. It sounds like a happy medium for the multi-billionaire.
To close things off, we'll leave you with a final statement from Bezos himself:
Keep inventing, and don’t despair when at first the idea looks crazy. Remember to wander. Let curiosity be your compass. It remains Day 1.