New York (CNN Business)Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will officially step down from his role as chief executive on July 5, he announced during the company’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday.
Bezos will hand the reins to Andy Jassy, who currently runs Amazon Web Services, after a nearly three-decade run leading the internet giant that made him one of the richest people in the world. Bezos will become Amazon’s executive chair. The company first announced the leadership change as part of its February earnings report, saying Jassy would take over during the fiscal third quarter. Amazon (AMZN) had not previously shared the precise date of the transition. The timing is “sentimental,” Bezos said — July 5 is the date Amazon was incorporated in 1994.As Jeff Bezos steps down, Amazon stakes its future on the cloud“I’m very excited to move into the [executive] chair role, where I’ll focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives,” Bezos said Wednesday. In February, he said he was looking forward to having more time to work on his ventures outside the company, such as the Bezos Earth Fund and Blue Origin. Read MoreBezos said he expects that Jassy — who has been at the company for 24 years and risen through its ranks to run its most profitable division — will be “an outstanding leader.” Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is photographed in Seattle in 2017.Hide Caption 1 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos is seen in 1996, a year after he started Amazon.com. At the time it was just an online bookseller.Hide Caption 2 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos and Sotheby’s president and CEO Diana Brooks pose in a customized Volkswagen Beetle from the film “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” in 1999. Sotheby’s and Amazon had teamed up to launch sothebys.amazon.com, an online auction site that would offer a broad range of objects, including this car.Hide Caption 3 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos holds a power drill and a stuffed Pikachu in 1999. By this point, Amazon had started to sell items other than books.Hide Caption 4 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Gregory Nixon, left, delivers a set of antique golf clubs he sold to David Robichaud, center, via Amazon.com Auctions in 1999. Bezos was there for the moment, as Robichaud, a construction worker, was Amazon’s 10-millionth customer.Hide Caption 5 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos In 1999, Bezos was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year.Hide Caption 6 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos looks on as Microsoft CEO Bill Gates presents a T-shirt as a retirement gift to Clippy, the Microsoft Office assistant, in 2001. Microsoft was launching Office XP.Hide Caption 7 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, arrive at a media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2003. They divorced in 2019 after 25 years of marriage.Hide Caption 8 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Jeff Bezos stands with one of Amazon’s trademark door-desks at the company’s Seattle headquarters in 2004.Hide Caption 9 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos introduces the Kindle e-reader at a news conference in 2007.Hide Caption 10 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos announces the Kindle DX in 2009.Hide Caption 11 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos, third from left, meets with NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver at the Blue Origin headquarters in Kent, Washington, in 2011. Bezos’ Blue Origin was started in 2000 with the goal of providing low-cost access to private space travel.Hide Caption 12 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos holds up the new Kindle Fire HD during a news conference in Santa Monica, California, in 2012.Hide Caption 13 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos appears on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” in 2012.Hide Caption 14 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos unveils the Fire Phone during an event in Seattle in 2014.Hide Caption 15 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos poses on a truck while visiting Bangalore, India, in 2014.Hide Caption 16 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos tours The Washington Post’s new offices in 2016. Bezos bought the newspaper in 2013.Hide Caption 17 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos listens to first lady Michelle Obama at a White House event in 2016. The event announced commitments from more than 50 companies to hire and train veterans and military spouses. Bezos announced a commitment by Amazon to hire 25,000 more military veterans in the next five years.Hide Caption 18 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos joins “Transparent” actor Jeffrey Tambor and director Jill Soloway after the Amazon Studios show won Emmys in 2016.Hide Caption 19 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos discusses his Blue Origin reusable rocket system in 2017. Reusable rockets would substantially reduce the cost of space flight.Hide Caption 20 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos US President Donald Trump and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella listen to Bezos at a White House meeting of the American Technology Council in 2017. According to the White House, the council’s goal is “to explore how to transform and modernize government information technology.” Hide Caption 21 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos tours the Spheres, a gathering and working space for Amazon employees, at its opening ceremonies in Seattle in 2018. The space contains hundreds of plant species from cloud forest environments around the globe, and it maintains a tropical climate similar to Costa Rica or Indonesia. Hide Caption 22 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos shakes hands with Kim Kardashian West while attending the Met Gala in New York in 2019. Actor Jared Leto is on the right.Hide Caption 23 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos is joined by the children from the Blue Origin Club for the Future in 2019. At the event in Washington, DC, Bezos unveiled a Blue Origin prototype of a lunar lander.Hide Caption 24 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos shows off Blue Moon, Blue Origin’s lunar landing prototype, in 2019.Hide Caption 25 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos announces the co-founding of The Climate Pledge in 2019. Bezos’ broad plan to fight climate change includes meeting the Paris climate agreement 10 years early. That would make the company carbon-neutral by 2040. Bezos also announced that Amazon would purchase 100,000 electric vans.Hide Caption 26 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos stands next to Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of the late journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as a plaque is unveiled near the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2019. It was a year after Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed.Hide Caption 27 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos sits between his girlfriend, Lauren Sánchez, and Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour at a Tom Ford fashion show in Los Angeles in February 2020.Hide Caption 28 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos testifies before a House subcommittee during an antitrust hearing in July 2020. Other powerful tech figures, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, were also questioned about their competitive tactics.Hide Caption 29 of 30 Photos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Bezos posted this photo of him and his mother, Jacklyn, after Blue Origin’s rocket-catching recovery boat was named in her honor.Hide Caption 30 of 30“He has the highest of high standards and I guarantee Andy will never let the universe make us typical,” Bezos said. “He has the energy needed to keep alive in us what has made us special.”When Jassy leaves the top post at AWS to run Amazon, he will be replaced by Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky, the company said in March.Jassy will take over an increasingly complex and scrutinized business, as evidenced both by news early Wednesday that Amazon is buying MGM for $8.45 billion and by some of the issues raised at the shareholder meeting shortly after. Among the shareholder proposals introduced during the meeting — all of which were voted down — was one that would have allowed an hourly fulfillment associate to serve on the company’s board. While unsuccessful, the motion underscored the criticism Amazon has faced over its treatment of warehouse workers recently, especially following a landmark union drive at one of its warehouses in April, which failed in the face of pushback from the company. During the shareholder meeting, Bezos was asked about the massive size of Amazon’s business. The question came after the District of Columbia filed an antitrust lawsuit against the company Tuesday, alleging it has abused its market dominance in e-commerce to harm competition. (In a statement at the time, Amazon pushed back at the lawsuit, saying the DC attorney general “has it exactly backwards.”)”I’d say we face intense competition from well-established companies everywhere we do business, in every industry,” Bezos said. “[Retail is] a very healthy industry and it’s far from a winner-take-all situation.”Bezos also listed some of Amazon’s newer bets that Jassy will have to manage, including its telehealth offering, Amazon Care, and its satellite internet effort, Project Kuiper. “None of these ideas are guaranteed to work,” Bezos said. “All of them are gigantic investments and they’re all risks. … Our whole history as a company is about taking risks, many of which have failed and many of which will fail, but we’ll continue to take big risks.”
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