Jeff Bezos, billionaire owner of Amazon who founded the company in 1994, will step down as chief executive after the company recorded $100bn in sales for the last three months of 2020. The surprising news was announced by the company on Tuesday when Amazon released its latest financial results. Bezos, 57, will remain executive chair but will hand the reins to Andy Jassy, chief executive of Amazon Web Services, the company’s fast-growing cloud computing business. Few companies have thrived like Amazon during the coronavirus pandemic, and in the last three months of the year, the company recorded sales of more than $100bn for the first time.
Bezos said, “Amazon is what it is because of invention.”
“If you do it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. 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 and advanced it into one of the largest companies in the world, amassing a fortune of $185bn. Amazon, which started as an online bookseller, is presently a dominant force in cloud computing, electronics, groceries, and entertainment, as well as employs over 1.1 million people.
Jeff Bezos took on the big bookstore chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble when he started selling books online in 1994. By the time the company went public three years later, it carried over 2.5 million titles and amassed annual sales of $148 million. Its inventory turned over 42 times that year, compared to only 2.1 times for Barnes & Noble.
“Amazon.com cannot exist in the physical world," Bezos told Forbes in 1996, the first year that the company appeared in the publication.
"No metropolitan area could support a million-title bookstore."
In 2006, Amazon began offering cloud computing services to other businesses called Amazon Web Services. It had developed the technology to run its own website and figured perhaps it could make capital hawking it to others, it rapidly attracted customers from NASA to Netflix.
Bezos first appeared on the Forbes 400 list in 1998 after taking his company public with a net worth of $1.6 billion, making him the 102nd richest person in the nation and earning him his first spot on Forbes’ cover. Nearly twenty years later, in 2017, he overtook Bill Gates for the first time as the richest person in the world. His net worth also exceeded $100 billion that year. Bezos is now the richest person on the planet with a net worth of $196 billion.