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After 26 years since he founded Amazon as an online marketplace for books, Jeff Bezos has decided to step down as Chief executive Officer. He will become the company’s executive chairman with Andy Jassy (Head of AWS) replacing him on the role.

As stated by Jeff Bezos in the Amazon Q4 Earnings Release: “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”.

Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 as an online marketplace for books, and since then he has taken the company to a roaring $380 billion in net sales (FY2020, up 30% vs FY2019). Q42020 sales also increased 44% to $125.6 billion, compared to $87.4 billion in Q42019, beating market expectations. Over 10% of net sales accounts for revenue generated by AWS, department of which the incoming new CEO, Andy Jassym, is Head. As for the rest, 67% came from North America sales and 27% from international sales.

Since its founding, Amazon has diversified massively its product and service offering, partially driven by acquisitions and partially by internal company developments:

  • 1999: store diversification with the sale of electronics, videogames, software and other consumer products.
  • 2002: launch Amazon Web Services (AWS), its cloud business division, diversifying its portfolio in the following years with Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Services (S3).
  • 2006: launch of Fulfillment by Amazon to manage client inventory.
  • 2012: purchase of Kiva Systems to automate inventory management.
  • 2017: purchase of Whole Foods.

Amazon has come to own over 40 subsidiaries, including Audible, Diapers.com, Twitch or Zappos.

Amazon propelled Bezos to stardom, becoming the richest man on the World in 2017 and stepping down to second place January this year, after Elon Musk took over his position.

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