AWS' Jassy to helm Amazon as Bezos steps aside from CEO role

Jeff Bezos
After 27 years, Amazon's Jeff Bezos is stepping away from his CEO role this summer with AWS CEO Andy Jassy taking over as Amazon's new CEO. (Amazon)

After 27 years of leading Amazon, founder Jeff Bezos will step away as CEO of the company on July 1 to be replaced AWS CEO Andy Jassy. The move, which is slated for Amazon's fiscal third quarter, will also include Bezos becoming executive vice chairman.

In an email to employees that was posted on Amazon, Bezos, 57, said he planned to stay active by putting more effort behind projects such as the Bezos Earth Fund, the Day 1 Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, "and my other passions."

"As much as I still tap dance into the office, I’m excited about this transition," Bezos said in his email. "I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring. I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have."

Bezos said in the beginning 27 years ago, he was frequently asked “What’s the internet?” From its origins as an online book store, Bezos built Amazon into a $1.7 trillion giant that employs 1.3 million people as it sells just about everything online.

After starting at Amazon in 1997, Jassy founded AWS in 2003 with a team of 57 employees. In April 2016, Jassy was promoted from senior vice president to CEO of AWS. Amazon hasn't said who will replace Jassy as AWS' CEO. Jassy, 53, graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1990 and received his M.B.A. from Harvard in 1997.

"Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have," Bezos said. "He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence."

Amazon Web Services has become the heartbeat that drives Amazon's revenues as it has the remained the leader for public cloud by a large margin. In Amazon's fourth quarter earnings on Tuesday, AWS' net sales grew 28% year-over-year to $12.74 billion, but that run rate was down slightly from the previous quarter.

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Amazon posted a record $125.6 billion in sales in Q4 while net income more than doubled to $7.2 billion from a year earlier. The fourth quarter marked the first time Amazon had exceeded $100 billion in sales in a single quarter.

AWS accounted for 10% of Amazon’s total revenue during the fourth quarter. AWS closed out 2020 with about a $50 billion backlog in orders, which was up 68% year-over-year.

"In Q4, AWS saw a continuation of strong usage and revenue growth," Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said during the earnings call. "AWS added more revenue quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year in any quarter in its history, and is now a $51 billion annualized run rate business, supporting millions of active AWS customers."