On Tuesday, Amazon said that founder Jeff Bezos will step down as CEO and become Executive Chairman, as the company recorded its third straight record profit and quarterly revenue of over $100 billion for the first time. The transition, expected for the third quarter, will make Andy Jassy Amazon’s new Chief Executive Officer who is currently the cloud computing chief.
Amazon’s net revenues grew to $125.56 billion as shoppers turned to the world’s largest online retailer for holiday shopping, smashing analyst expectations of $119.7 billion, according to Refinitiv’s IBES data.
Jeff Bezos, who founded the company 27 years ago as an online bookshop, said in a letter to workers posted on Amazon’s website, “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.”
He said, “I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring.” Amazon shares saw a rise of less than 1% in after-hours trading.
Jassy joined Amazon in 1997 and has an MBA from Harvard Business School on the company’s website. Amazon Web Services (AWS) was created and evolved into a cloud network used by millions of users, the company said. Tom Johnson, Chief Transformation Officer at Mindshare Worldwide, said Jassy’s promotion underscored the value of online services for Amazon’s future.
“Jassy’s background in steering AWS shows just how the top of mind those services are to Amazon’s business strategy. It’ll be interesting to see how that affects their strategy and balancing that priority with a growing ad business and the commerce behemoth,” he said.
Jassy’s AWS, which is usually a bright spot, falls just shy of goals. While the Cloud Infrastructure division reported quarterly agreements with ViacomCBS, the BMW Group, and others, sales were $12.7 billion, down from the expected $12.8 billion analysts. Amazon said it wasn’t announcing a substitute for Jassy at this time.
With the beginning of the US coronavirus outbreak, customers have gradually turned to Amazon for home staples and medical supplies. Brick-and-mortar retailers closed their doors; Amazon, the world’s biggest internet retailer, instead hired over 400,000 additional employees and gained record earnings in a row.
Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky told analysts at the conference call that the expenses of the First quarter pandemic are estimated to total $2 billion, down from $4 billion in the fourth quarter.
With its warehouses open, Amazon had another record holiday, exceeding forecasts of retail store revenue, membership sales, third-party service sales such as warehousing and other sales to retailers on its website.
The spike in sales comes from moving Amazon’s Prime Day marketing event-usually in July-to October, expanding the holiday shopping season.