Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will officially step down as CEO of the company on July 5, he announced during a meeting Wednesday.
Bezos, 57, founded the web services giant in 1994 and took the company on a nearly three-decade run as one of the most profitable in U.S. history. He’ll hand the leadership reins over to Andy Jassy, who currently runs Amazon Web Services. Bezos will stay on as Amazon’s executive chair, according to multiple reports.
The timing of the changeover is “sentimental,” Bezos told the shareholders. The July 5 date was when Amazon was incorporated 27 years ago.
“I’m very excited to move into the chair role, where I’ll focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives,” Bezos said Wednesday.
Bezos applauded Jassy for his rise to success with Amazon over the past 24 years and said he would be “an outstanding leader.”
“He has the highest of high standards and I guarantee Andy will never let the universe make us typical,” Bezos said. “He has the energy needed to keep alive in us what has made us special.”
The news comes one day after Amazon was said to be buying MGM for $8.45 billion. It raised concerns with some shareholders who saw the move as a boost toward assisting an antitrust lawsuit against the company. Amazon previously announced a partnership with the NFL earlier last month with a complete takeover of the Thursday Night Football broadcast.
“None of these ideas are guaranteed to work,” Bezos said. “All of them are gigantic investments and they’re all risks. Our whole history as a company is about taking risks, many of which have failed and many of which will fail, but we’ll continue to take big risks.”
Amazon’s latest moves by Bezos and Jassy puts them in a position to compete in more areas than just retail and online operations.
“I’d say we face intense competition from well-established companies everywhere we do business, in every industry,” Bezos said. “(Retail is) a very healthy industry and it’s far from a winner-take-all situation.”