Twenty five years after founding Amazon, Jeff Bezos is stepping down as CEO, though he's not going far. Bezos is leading his role as the chief executive officer to take on a new position, executive chair. Andy Jassy, who runs Amazon Web Services (aka the hosting company for huge swaths of the internet), will take over as CEO.
The move isn't immediate: Bezos is stepping down in the third quarter of 2021, he said in a letter to Amazon employees (opens in new tab).
"In the Exec Chair role, I intend to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives. Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have. He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence," Bezos wrote. "As Exec Chair I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions."
Under Bezos's stewardship, Amazon founded Amazon Game Studios, which is actively developing MMO New World (opens in new tab), and acquired streaming platform Twitch in 2014. He also stars in the interactive fiction adventure You Are Jeff Bezos (opens in new tab).
Despite being around since 2012, Amazon Game Studios has struggled to release games. Numerous projects have been canceled before release, and last year's Crucible was put back into beta and later canceled after a flopped release (opens in new tab). In a report (opens in new tab) published on January 29, Bloomberg documented Amazon's struggles to ship games and internal problems, including a "bro culture" and a lack of gaming experience from studio head Mike Frazzini.
Amazon announced Bezos's move alongside its latest quarterly earnings, which are gargantuan. It pulled in $125.56 billion in revenue vs. an expected $119.70 billion—the first $100 billion quarter in Amazon's history.
Amazon's stock price has risen more than 68 percent since February 2020, while over the course of the pandemic, some 20,000 Amazon workers have contracted Covid-19 (opens in new tab). In June, Amazon warehouse workers in New York sued the company (opens in new tab) claiming the working conditions put their lives at risk.