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Jeff Bezos steps down as Amazon’s CEO- what will he really be giving up?

July 06, 2021 | 2 minutes read

Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man is stepping down from Amazon and handing over the operations to Andy Jassy.

He has announced earlier that he will be stepping down as Amazon’s CEO on July 5, 2021. This move has come in stating that he wants to focus on “new products and early initiatives”.

The 57-year-old is expected to focus on his personal projects, one of which is a launch with his private spaceflight company Blue Origin on 20th July in collaboration with his brother Mark, a mystery customer, and Marry Wallace. Other projects include joining the fight against climate change and investing time in his newspaper, The Washington Post.

Jeff Bezos and the changing power dynamics:

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos might be leaving the role of Amazon’s CEO but he’s not leaving the company itself. He’s transitioning to the role of executive chair-functioning as the strategic advisor to the new CEO, Andy Jassy. The power transition has happened before when Bill Gates left Microsoft and Eric Schmidt left Google and is known as the apprenticeship model of corporate succession. 

Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer told the reporters:

“Jeff is not really going anywhere. It’s more of a restructuring of who’s doing what.” It’s just the transition from one place of power to another to have a new role. Bezos has 10% of Amazon’s share which makes him the single largest shareholder. This represents who will be pulling the reins in conflicting situations.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, explained:

“The fact he is stepping down as chief executive of Amazon doesn’t mean he is disappearing; far from it as he is becoming executive chairman”.

“The chairman’s role is to keep the chief executive in order, so Bezos will still be ingrained in the business and be able to provide guidance on a range of strategic issues”.

“He is also a major shareholder which gives him considerable influence on how the business is run.”

These statements show that Jeff Bezos isn’t giving up on much but instead is making a move from one power position to another.