Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will step down as CEO this year

Some pretty big news in the world of… well, everything, broke today: Jeff Bezos will be stepping down as CEO of Amazon this year. The change in leadership will take place in Q3 2021 and mark perhaps the biggest shift in the company since its founding in 1994. Amazon’s CEO of Web Services, Andy Jassy, will replace Bezos.

Amazon has been run by Bezos since day one, when the second richest man in the world started a website to sell books online. The company has gone on to become the latest online retailer on the planet and stretch across product categories as far as the eye can see. It’s also dominated in fields clearly not associated with e-commerce such as internet infrastructure (Amazon Web Services), consumer technology (Kindle, Echo, Fire), content subscriptions (Amazon Prime), and even some physical retail (Whole Foods, Amazon book stores).

It’s incredible when you consider everything Amazon has done and continues to do, so naturally one would assume being the CEO of the whole operation is an all-day job. That appears to be the reason Bezos is stepping away from the day-to-day responsibilities – he said in an email “it’s hard to put attention on anything else” when you’re in that position.

Bezos will remain as an executive chairman of Amazon, but he’ll be spending much more time on his other endeavors like the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origins, and The Wall Street Journal (yes, he owns that, too). Bezos says Jassy has his “full confidence” that he’ll “be an outstanding leader.”

Andy Jassy has been with Amazon since 1997 and led the Amazon Web Services division in 2003 when it was founded. He became CEO 13 years later in 2016.