Amazon said Tuesday that its CEO and founder Jeff Bezos will transition to executive chairman of the company this year. He will hand over the role of CEO to Andy Jassy in the third quarter of 2021. Jassy has run the company’s cloud computing business.
The announcement came as the company reported its first $100 billion quarter. In the fourth quarter of 2020, Amazon generated $125.56 billion in sales.
Earnings and revenue for the quarter were both higher than forecasted with earnings coming in at nearly double what analyst had anticipated. Amazon earned $14.09 vs an anticipated $7.23 per share (forecast by Refinitiv.) Meanwhile, sales had been expected to totally $119.7 billion.
Bezos says he will focus on “new products and early initiatives” win his new role. In a memo to employees Bezos wrote, “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.” He added, “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.”