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Jeff Bezos walks through a one-way door, opening a new age for Amazon

Amazon founder will now be executive chairman and hand over CEO role to Jassy later this year

Topics
Jeff Bezos | Amazon | Amazon Web Services

Brad Stone | Bloomberg 

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos discusses his company's Fire smartphone at a news conference in Seattle, Washington, US
Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos discusses his company's Fire smartphone at a news conference in Seattle, Washington, US

has a formulation about one-way doors and two-way doors—decisions that are irreversible and permanent and those that can always be unwound. Stepping through what’s almost certainly a one-way door on Tuesday, Bezos said he will resign as chief executive officer of com Inc and become executive chairman later this year. He will hand day-to-day control to Andy Jassy, his longtime head of Web Services, a swiftly growing division that has almost singlehandedly changed the way buy the technology that powers their businesses.

With that comes at least a partial end to one of the most epic runs in modern business history. Yet, Bezos’s move feels, in many ways, natural and even inevitable. Over the last 25 years, the founder led the company through perhaps the most fertile period of any American business ever. Amazon was first just an idea at the Wall Street hedge fund D E Shaw & Co, where Bezos was a vice president; then it was an online bookseller and high-flying dot-com stock during the late 1990s. Bezos then rescued the company from the internet bust by formulating and guiding new inventions like the Kindle, Amazon Prime and AWS.

Over the last decade, he has piloted Amazon to a $1.7 trillion market capitalisation, where it currently occupies the same rarified trillion-dollar air as and

But Bezos’s decision to step down also reflects an uncomfortable reality for one of the wealthiest people in the world: The walls of his highly compartmentalised empire have been crumbling for some time. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to be (at least by Bezos’s standards). He presides over a collection of properties that spans not only Amazon but The Washington Post, several philanthropies and a space company, Blue Origin LLC, that lags far behind its chief rival, Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies.

In his email to Amazon employees on Tuesday, Bezos said stepping down will give him more time to focus on “other passions,” including Blue Origin. “I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring,” Bezos wrote. “I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring”

There’s another reason Bezos might want to step back from active duty at Amazon: Things from here out could potentially become a lot less fun. Amazon just cleared $100 billion in quarterly sales for the first time. Getting to $200 billion may not be as satisfying an endeavor.

He promised employees that he intends to stay active at the company and to “focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives,” much as he did during the early days of Alexa and the Kindle.

If there’s one thing they’ve learned about Bezos over the last 25 years, it’s to trust he knows exactly which door to go through at precisely the right time.

Jeff Bezos walks through a one-way door, opening a new age for Amazon

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First Published: Wed, February 03 2021. 23:37 IST
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