AWS Chief Andy Jassy To Become Amazon CEO as Bezos Steps Down
E-commerce and cloud juggernaut Amazon.com announced a major executive change on Tuesday, alongside its earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020.
CEO Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon 1994, will step down from his position in the third quarter of 2021 to become Executive Chair of the company's board of directors. Taking the reins from him will be Andy Jassy, a longtime Amazon executive who has served as CEO of the massive Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud since 2016.
The company announced the change in its Q4 earnings report. "When you look at our financial results, what you're actually seeing are the long-run cumulative results of invention," Bezos said in a prepared statement. "Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition."
AWS reported $12.7 billion in revenue for the quarter-ended Dec. 31, a 28% year over year increase, in line with Wall Street estimates. Full-year revenue was $45.4 billion, up nearly 30% from fiscal 2019. Operating income for the quarter was $3.6 billion, up 37% year over year.
Though it's still the dominant cloud vendor in the market, year-over-year growth for AWS has been decelerating. Historically Amazon's fastest-growing business segment, in Q4 AWS trailed both the International and North America retail units, which respectively grew by 57% and 40% year over year.
Microsoft, whose Azure cloud business is AWS' closest competitor, reported its latest quarterly earnings last week. Azure revenue grew 50% from the preceding quarter, according to Microsoft, though the company does not reveal the exact dollar amount.
Jassy will inherit Amazon from Bezos just as IT spending in cloud technologies is expected to ramp up, driven by pandemic-related changes to work environments, including more widespread acceptance of remote work.