Jeff Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO on Monday, exactly 27 years since he started the e-commerce giant in a garage in West Bellevue, Washington.
Bezos is handing day-to-day tasks to his longtime deputy Andy Gacy, but he will continue to wield significant influence as the company’s CEO.
Under Bezos, Amazon has transformed itself from an online bookstore startup into the world’s largest online retailer. Bezos led the company safely through the internet bubble that burst in the early 2000s, then launched a period of ruthless expansion, pushing its influence far beyond online commerce.
Bezos is the richest man in the world He told the staff Earlier this year, handing the reins to Jassy would allow him to focus on other projects, such as philanthropic endeavors to tackle climate change and his space exploration company Blue Origin (Bezos himself plans to fly to the edge of space on a company-built rocket in two weeks).
Bezos will remain the largest shareholder in Amazon.
“Jeff isn’t really going anywhere,” Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer, told reporters in February. “It’s a restructuring of who does what.”
Gacy, who joined Amazon in 1997, was the CEO of Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing giant that is Amazon’s most profitable division and helps power large segments of the Internet, Including Netflix, Facebook and Twitter.
The transition arrives at a pivotal time for Amazon. The pandemic’s shift to remote work has been a huge boon for the company, as profits surge as Americans stuck at home shop more online and demand additional cloud computing resources.
However, these new fortunes come during a period of increased stress.
Amazon’s competitive practices are under investigation by Congress, the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and regulators in Europe, with government officials accusing the company of abusing its market dominance.
Brad Stone, Senior Editor at Bloomberg News Who has written two books on Amazon, said Bezos has an extraordinary talent for problem-solving and focusing on many disparate issues simultaneously, but empathy has never been his strength.
Gacy has always viewed Bezos as a mentor, but he’s classmates He said He is milder, gentler, and less prone to angry outbursts, compared to Bezos.
As Jassy takes over as CEO, one of the main challenges will be cracking down on the more ruthless side of the Amazon empire that instills in the company Ma Stone. calls A more modest picture.
“Gacy is taking charge at a critical time,” Stone told NPR. “He inherits not only massive success, but all the baggage that comes with it.”
Stone added that Gacy’s presence at the helm of the company may be intended to change perceptions of Amazon, a company that has become an inevitable part of everyday life, but which the author says provokes mixed feelings.
“I think Gacy should make Amazon a more compassionate company, a friendlier company,” Stone said. “He has to find the heart of Amazon.”