In something of a surprise announcement today, Amazon said that founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will step down as CEO this summer, handing off the retail giant to Andy Jassy who runs the cloud computing business.
Bezos said in a statement, “If you do it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. People yawn. That yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive. When you look at our financial results, what you’re actually seeing are the long-run cumulative results of invention. Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition.”
According to USA Today, Bezos will stay with the company in the role of executive chair. Bezos is one of the world’s most powerful business figures and also one of its wealthiest.
The announcement came as Amazon reported record fourth-quarter sales that topped $100 billion for the first time.
In a letter to employees, Bezos said he would focus on new products and early initiatives. He said Jassy, who has led Amazon’s Web services business since he joined the company in 1997, has his “full confidence.”