Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, one of the world's largest companies, announced that he will be stepping down as CEO of the company that he established nearly 30 years ago.

What You Need To Know

  • Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, annoucned Tuesday that he will step down as CEO in Q3 of 2021

  • Bezos will transition to Executive Chair in the fall of 2021; Andy Jassy, who heads up of Amazon Web Services, will succeed him as CEO

  • Bezos founded Amazon in 1994; the company opened for business on July 16, 1995, as an online bookstore

  • Amazon is now one of the largest companies on the planet, which sells just about everything

Andy Jassy, who heads up of Amazon Web Services, the company's successful cloud computing business, will succeed Bezos as the company's CEO. 

Bezos said in a letter to employees that he will transition to Executive Chair in the fall of 2021. 

"I’m excited to announce that this Q3 I’ll transition to Executive Chair of the Amazon Board and Andy Jassy will become CEO,” Bezos wrote in the letter. "In the Exec Chair role, I intend to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives. Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have. He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence."

Bezos noted that in his new role, he will "have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions."

"I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring," he added. I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have."

“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,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, said in a statement.

"If you do it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal," Bezos added. "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."

Bezos founded Amazon in 1994; the company opened for business on July 16, 1995, as an online bookstore – Bezos turned it into a multi-billion dollar conglomerate that now sells just about everything.

In the process, Bezos became one of the world’s richest people, as well as one of the world's biggest philanthropists. He made the single-largest charitable contribution of 2020, a $10 billion gift to help fight climate change.

Under Bezos, Amazon also launched the first e-reader that gained mass acceptance, and its Echo listening device made voice assistants a more common sight in many living rooms.

As a child, Bezos was intrigued by computers and interested in building things, such as alarms he rigged in his parents’ home. He got a degree in electrical engineering and computer science at Princeton University, and then worked at several Wall Street companies.

He quit his job at D.E. Shaw to start an online retail business — though at first he wasn’t sure what to sell. Bezos quickly determined that an online bookstore would resonate with consumers. He and his wife, MacKenzie, whom he met at D.E. Shaw and married in 1993, set out on a road trip to Seattle — a city chosen for its abundance of tech talent and proximity to a large book distributor in Roseburg, Oregon.

While MacKenzie drove, Bezos wrote up the business plan for what would become Bezos convinced his parents and some friends to invest in the idea, and Amazon began operating out of the Bezos’ Seattle garage on July 16, 1995.

This is a developing story. Check back later for further updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.