Amazon's Jeff Bezos to step down as CEO; says it is optimal time for transition

·4-min read

New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos will step down as the e-commerce giant's CEO and become the Executive Chairman, with the 57-year-old billionaire saying it is not about 'retiring' and now is the optimal time for transition.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy will take over as Amazon.com Inc's CEO.

'Amazon is what it is because of invention. We do crazy things together and then make them normal... 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,' Bezos said in a statement.

In an e-mail to employees, Bezos said he will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives as the Executive Chair.

'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. I've never had more energy, and this isn't about retiring,' he said.

Bezos, 57, founded Amazon in 1994 as an online bookstore. The company has since then grown into an e-commerce giant with operations spread across various countries. The company today not only delivers products like apparel, devices and grocery but also offers content streaming like movies and music.

Jassy had joined Amazon in 1997 and has led the Amazon's Web Services cloud team since its inception.

'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... Amazon couldn't be better positioned for the future. We are firing on all cylinders, just as the world needs us to,' Bezos said in his e-mail.

Bezos noted that the company serves individuals and enterprises, and has pioneered two complete industries and a whole new class of devices.

'We are leaders in areas as varied as machine learning and logistics, and if an Amazonian's idea requires yet another new institutional skill, we're flexible enough and patient enough to learn it,' he said.

Amazon's net sales increased 44 per cent to USD 125.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to USD 87.4 billion in the year-ago period. Its net income increased to USD 7.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 as compared to USD 3.3 billion in the corresponding quarter in 2019.

For the full year 2020, Amazon's net sales increased 38 per cent to USD 386.1 billion while net income rose to USD 21.3 billion from the previous year. International revenues grew over 57 per cent to USD 37.4 billion in the December quarter, and was at over USD 104 billion for 2020.

Revenue from North America was at USD 75.3 billion while that from Amazon Web Services was at USD 12.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020.

During an investor call, Amazo's Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said the company has made investments in geographies like India and that its international business has been benefiting from higher volumes.

Amazon hosted a month-long shopping event 'Great Indian Festival' during the quarter in India that focused on enabling the revival of small and medium-sized businesses, and customers purchased items from over 1,10,000 sellers -- the majority of whom were from rural towns, Amazon said in the statement.

The company also noted that the fourth quarter marked Prime Video's strongest viewership for live sports globally. In India, Prime Video announced its first foray into live sports with the acquisition of India territory rights for New Zealand Cricket through 2025-26, it added.

While Amazon has -- on a number of occasions -- highlighted the importance of the Indian market, it is currently locked in a bitter battle with Future. Amazon had invested in one of Future Group's entities. It has dragged Future Group to arbitration at Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), arguing that Future violated their contract by entering into a deal with rival Reliance. PTI SR