RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Amazon announced Tuesday evening after the markets closed that Jeff Bezos will transition to the role of Executive Chair in the third quarter of 2021 and Andy Jassy, the head of Amazon’s cloud business AWS, will become CEO.

“Amazon is what it is because of invention. We do crazy things together and then make them normal. We pioneered customer reviews, 1-Click, personalized recommendations, Prime’s insanely-fast shipping, Just Walk Out shopping, the Climate Pledge, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, infrastructure cloud computing, Career Choice, and much more,” Bezos, Amazon founder’s said in a statement.

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“If you do it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. People yawn. That yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive. 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.”

Jassy has led AWS since its inception. His bio at Amazon notes:

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“[H]e’s managed an inventive and nimble team that has delivered more than 90 cloud infrastructure and application services that are used by millions of startup, enterprise, and government customers around the world. Jassy joined Amazon in 1997. Prior to founding AWS, he held various leadership roles across the company. He has an AB from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.”

Andy Jassy (Amazon photo)

In a blog post to employees, Bezos said he plans to focus on new products and early initiatives being developed at Amazon. And he said he’ll have more time for side projects: his space exploration company Blue Origin; the newspaper he owns, The Washington Post; and his charities.

Amazon is one of the last of the biggest tech giants to have a founder as CEO. Google’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin relinquished their executive positions in parent company Alphabet in 2019. Oracle’s Larry Ellison stepped down as CEO in 2014. Bill Gates was Microsoft’s CEO until 2000, kept a day-to-day role at the company until 2008 and served as its chairman until 2014. Gates left the board entirely last year to focus on philanthropy.

Earnings news

The news came as Amazon announced “its largest quarter by revenue of all time, generating $125.56 billion in sales,” CNBC noted.

Earnings came in well above expectations at $14.09 vs $7.23 per share forecast by Refinitiv.

CNBC also noted revenues exceeded expectations at $125.56 billion vs $119.7 billion forecast by Refinitiv.

Read full earnings announcement online.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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