Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to step down as CEO of technology empire

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will step down as the company’s chief executive officer this summer, after more than a quarter-century at the helm of the retail, logistics, and tech powerhouse.

Bezos will become Amazon’s executive chairman and remain its biggest shareholder, the company said on Tuesday. He will hand over the CEO reins to Andy Jassy, the head of Amazon’s cash-cow cloud computing division.

Bezos, who extended the company’s reach to India with multi-billion dollar investments, said on Tuesday that in his new role he intends “to focus his energies and attention on new products and early initiatives”.

Andy Jassy, the head of the conglomerate’s web services, is to succeed him as Amazon’s CEO in the transition set for the third quarter. It is estimated that about half of the company’s revenue comes from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The phenomenal growth of Amazon’s retail business has made it a target for anti-monopoly actions and it will be Jassy’s lot to navigate through a spate of regulatory challenges from the US to Europe to India.

The company has benefited from the Covid-19 pandemic which sent online retail soaring as many stores shut down or were affected by the lockdowns and people cut down on trips outside homes. Amazon had a market capitalisation of $1.696 trillion on Tuesday, making it the planet’s fourth-largest company by value.

India was seen by Bezos as one of Amazon’s potential high-growth market and he is investing a total of $6.5 billion there. He was involved in a controversial attempt to acquire retail giant Futures Group, but was thwarted by Mukesh Ambani.

Besides retail, Amazon India distributes Bollywood and other entertainment through its Prime services.

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