Amazon announced on February 2nd that Jeff Bezos will be stepping down from the position of CEO. The position will be turned over to Andy Jassy, chief executive of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Bezos will transition to the role of executive chair this summer, stepping away from the responsibilities of CEO while also remaining deeply involved in the company. According to NBC News, Bezos follows the continual pattern of American tech company founders stepping down from the CEO position, such as Bill Gates at Microsoft and Larry Ellison at Oracle.
While remaining executive chairman, Bezos will now focus on other projects such as his environmental pursuits, space travel projects, and The Washington Post, according to the Financial Times. Some say Bezos is stepping down from the position at the perfect time. According to NBC News, Amazon reported “a year of record growth” on the day of the announcement.
Founded by Bezos in 1994, Amazon grew from a small online bookstore to one of the most booming Internet marketplaces under Bezos’s leadership. Bezos said on Amazon to the Washington Post, “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.”
The COVID-19 pandemic only fueled Amazon’s booming popularity as grocery store customers transitioned to online shopping due to safety concerns.
The CEO position will be handed over to Andy Jassy, whose history with the company makes him the ideal candidate to fill Bezos’s shoes. After graduating from Harvard Business School, Jassy started with the company in 1997. He helped lead one of Amazon’s first pursuits outside of books, which was music sales. He then built Amazon’s cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services. What began as a small extension to Amazon’s e-commerce operations became a leader in the world of cloud computing, now powering several websites around the world using Amazon’s servers.
Among companies undergoing major personnel changes as well are CNN and Merck.
According to Business Insider, CNN president Jeff Zucker will be leaving his current position when his contract expires in 2021. CNN ratings are currently booming due to coverage of the first 100 days of the Biden presidency and the ongoing pandemic, making 2021 an ideal conclusion to Zucker’s tenure.
CEO of Merck & Co., Kenneth C. Frazier, plans to retire from the position in June and pass on the position to the company’s current CFO, Robert M. Davis. Like Bezos, Frazier will transition to the role of executive chair and remain involved in the pharmaceutical company’s activity.
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