- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will be stepping down later this year, becoming executive chairman.
- Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy will replace Bezos.
- Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said Bezos will still remain engaged with the most important decisions.
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Amazon announced on Tuesday that its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is stepping down later this year, moving into a new role as executive chairman.
Andy Jassy, who runs the Amazon Web Services cloud unit, will replace him.
While the news came as a shocker, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky tried to minimize the impact of the surprise move during the earnings call with analysts late Tuesday, stressing that the change was part of a long-term succession plan that keeps Bezos engaged in the company’s most important decisions.
“I will reiterate that Jeff is not leaving,” Olsavsky said, according to a transcript provided by Sentieo. “He is getting a new job.”
In his new role as executive chairman, Bezos will still be heavily involved when it comes to Amazon’s key strategic moves, Olsavsky said. That means Bezos will help deal with what’s internally called “one-way door issues,” he said — or “Type 1 decisions,” as Bezos described in his 2016 annual shareholder letter, which are big decisions that are hard to reverse, such as major acquisitions or moves to get into the grocery market.
“Jeff has always been involved with that, and that’s where he’ll keep his time focused on in his new role,” Olsavsky said.
Still, Jassy will be the man in charge of Amazon’s day-to-day operations once Bezos steps down, allowing him to “put his imprint on Amazon,” Olsavsky said.
“He is not only a visionary leader, he’s a strong operator,” Olsavsky said, stressing how Jassy’s been with the company since 1997. “He is certainly going to carry through the culture and the vision and the invention factory that Amazon is, and we’ll take that to the next level.”
Olsavsky declined to say who will replace Jassy as AWS CEO, only saying he’ll share more about it in the future. But he reiterated that Amazon has a “highly effective” succession planning process, which includes an annual discussion on the development and expansion of key executive team members.
“I think there’s a lot of bench strength within Amazon,” he said.