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Jeff Bezos Steps Down as CEO, Andy Jassy Takes Over

By Andrea Villar | Mon, 07/05/2021 - 05:00

Andy Jassy today officially became the new CEO of Amazon upon the retirement of its founder, Jeff Bezos. On the company's 27th anniversary, Bezos announced that he would be retiring to focus his efforts on the next phase of his life, notably the first manned space voyage by his company, Blue Origin, which he plans to undertake on 20 July. In his final letter to investors as the company's CEO, Bezos said he chose this date because it had special meaning to him, being the anniversary of the company's founding in 1994. At the time, Bezos, a Princeton University graduate who spent a few years working on Wall Street, started an online bookstore that had a much more ambitious goal behind it: to create the largest online bookstore in the world. 

Jeff Bezos now hands over the reins of Amazon to 53-year-old Andy Jassy, who will lead the US$1.7 trillion company. Jassy grew up in Scarsdale, an upscale suburb about 20 miles from New York City, according to CNBC. Her father, Everett, is a lawyer who was a partner at the Manhattan law firm Dewey Ballantine, while her mother, Margery, worked as a trustee at the youth theatre program Theater Works USA, according to The New York Times. Jassy is no stranger to Amazon, having worked there since 1997. “Rick Dalzell, the company's chief information officer at the time, told Fortune's Leena Rao that Jassy had a competitive streak and a photographic memory that set him apart, despite his lack of engineering skill,” points out Business Insider.

According to Fortune, Jassy oversaw music sales at Amazon. He was then chosen as Bezos' first “shadow advisor2 in 2002, who essentially was a Chief of Staff who accompanied Amazon's CEO to all of his meetings for a year or more. Year later, Amazon Web Services, one of the company's most profitable businesses today, was proposed by Jassy, arguing he wanted to offer Amazon's expertise in managing large amounts of e-commerce data, along with its vast network of data centers. He wanted to make data storage cheaper and easier for other companies, Fortunes reports.

Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst