The February 2, 2021 letter from Jeff Bezos to employees at Amazon is causing considerable speculation of why he is stepping down and what it means to Amazon, including its business as a subsidiary.
This Q3 2021 (no exact date is provided) will see him transition to the Executive Chair of the Amazon Board as Andy Jassy assumes the CEO role. Per the letter, he will focus on new products and early initiatives.
Media and pundits are offering their own version of why Bezos is leaving after 27 years.
Forrester VP and Principal Analyst James McQuivey commented that the Bezos may have learned from the CEO transitions at Apple (Jobs to Cooke) and Microsoft (Gates to Ballmer).
“By choosing Andy Jassy, Bezos is potentially skipping the Ballmer transition phase and moving right into a Satya Nadella mode, turning to an expert in running a cloud business, someone who understands the long-term role that infrastructure and business services will play for Amazon, even as it tries to maintain its role as a consumer innovator.”
“On the finance side, it makes sense to appoint an executive who intimately knows Amazon’s most profitable business, that operates in more competitive markets. [Appointing Jassy] ensures that the new Amazon CEO does not break the ‘golden goose’,” Mueller was quoted on Techcrunch.
Jassy is part of a team of 57 people that started Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2003, and took the CEO role of AWS in 2020.
is a reward for growing from “a tiny side business” to one with a $50 billion run rate.
Forrester VP Allen Bonde said Jassy’s appointment signals the importance of not only AWS as the profit driver for its parent but also the role of cloud tech that is the and will drive the growth of Amazon as a digital platform business going forward.
“While consumer eCommerce is a big market, B2B is an even bigger prize. Picking a leader who is driving their main enterprise offering may indicate the future of Amazon is in fact selling more to businesses, than consumers. In general, a much bigger prize in the long run.”
In approving of Bezos’ pick, another Forrester analyst, Paul Miller, said Jassy has grown AWS to its current position as the biggest provider of public cloud infrastructure on the planet, and a significant driver of Amazon’s profitability.
“AWS’ numbers and growth trajectory are a testament to Jassy’s ability to combine proactive leadership with getting out of the way and letting bright people build smart things,” he remarked.
Who takes over Jassy’s old role may well define the future direction for AWS which continues to face competition and potential new regulations.
Back to Bezos, the focus on new products is reminiscent of when Bill Gates announced his retirement from the CEO role at Microsoft (in 2000) and assume the role of Chief Software Architect to let him spend time on new software technologies. Ten years later, Gates moved out altogether from the Microsoft company he founded to focus on philanthropic activities.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted his best wishes to Bezos for two of the outcoming CEO’s passion projects: Day 1 Fund and Bezos Earth Fund.
Share your views on whether this new transition will have any impact on your use of the cloud.