Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is set to get a new CEO as founder Jeff Bezos steps down from the helm of the company he started in his apartment nearly 26 years ago.
Bezos is to hand over the reins of the company he built into a logistics giant to Andy Jassy, chief of Amazon’s cloud computing division, but will stay on as executive chairman.
Bezos wrote in email to Amazon’s employees that he intends “to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives.”
One of the world’s most influential technology and business leaders, Bezos had previously stepped back from much of Amazon’s day-to-day business, but the novel coronavirus pandemic pulled him back last spring to deal with the flood of e-commerce demand, labor unrest and supply chain challenges brought on by Covid-19.
Andy Jassy: Trusted Lieutenant
“You really had to pick somebody inside for this company, and Andy is the perfect choice,” said Matt McIlwain, a managing director at Madrona Venture Group, an early Amazon investor, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Jassy, who has an MBA from Harvard, is regarded as a true believer in Amazon’s culture and is known for his curiosity and respect for data, according to people who have close ties to the company.
Since joining Amazon in 1997, Jassy has long been a trusted lieutenant to Bezos. He laid the foundation for Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing business, which he grew to define the space and become a significant profit contributor.
AMZN Stock Is on Solid Footing
Amazon has now stabilized, reporting a record $125.6 billion in sales in the fourth quarter on Tuesday, while profits more than doubled to $7.2 billion year-over-year.
AWS had net sales of $12.7 billion in its most recent quarter, with operating income of $3.6 billion, more than half of the company’s overall operating income.
Ahead of earnings, InvestorPlace contributor Nicolas Chahine on Feb. 1 called Amazon “the best example of a growth company the world has ever seen.” He wrote:
“There are some stocks that you can rarely go wrong owning them in the long run. Eventually they’ll end up delivering capital appreciation. Amazon has been an incredible company for over a decade. Consequently Amazon stock remains on fire in spite of tremendous skepticism.”
The market seems to be pleased with the announcement. AMZN stock is up more than 2.2% in pre-market trading, to $3,380 a share.
On the date of publication, Robert Lakin held a long position in AMZN stock.
InvestorPlace contributor Robert Lakin is a veteran financial writer and editor, following fintech, agtech and property tech startups.