Read Bezos’s letter here
I am pleased to announce that this third quarter I will become Executive Chairman of the Amazon Board and Andy Jassy will become CEO. In the CEO role, I intend to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives. Andy is well known within the company and has been with Amazon almost as long as I have. He will be an outstanding leader and he has my complete confidence.
This journey started about 27 years ago. Amazon was just an idea and had no name. The question I was asked most frequently at the time was, “What is the Internet?” Fortunately, I haven’t had to explain that in a long time.
Today, we employ 1.3 million talented and dedicated people, serve hundreds of millions of customers and businesses, and are widely recognized as one of the most successful companies in the world.
How did that happen? Invention. Invention is the root of our success. We have done crazy things together and then we have made them normal. We pioneered customer reviews, 1-Click, personalized recommendations, blazing fast Prime shipping, Just Walk Out purchases, Climate Pledge, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, cloud computing infrastructure, Career Choice, and much more. If you get it right, a few years after an amazing invention, the new has become normal. People yawn. And that yawn is the highest compliment an inventor can receive.
I don’t know of another company with as good a track record for inventions as Amazon’s, and I think we’re at our most inventive right now. I hope you are as proud of our inventiveness as I am. I think you should be.
As Amazon got bigger, we decided to use our scale and reach to lead important social issues. Two high-impact examples: our $ 15 minimum wage and the Climate Pledge. In both cases, we define leadership positions and then ask others to join us. In both cases, it is working. Other big companies approach us. I hope you are proud of that too.
I find my work meaningful and fun. I can work with the smartest, most talented and resourceful teammates. When times have been good, you’ve been humble. When times have been difficult, they have been strong and supportive, and we have made each other laugh. It is a pleasure to work on this team.
As much as I continue to tap in the office, I am excited about this transition. Millions of clients depend on us for our services and more than a million employees depend on us for their livelihoods. Being the CEO of Amazon is a huge responsibility and consumes. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to pay attention to anything else. As CEO I will continue to participate in important Amazon initiatives, but I will 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. I have never had more energy and this is not about retiring. I am passionate about the impact I believe these organizations can have.
Amazon couldn’t be better positioned for the future. We are firing at all cylinders, just as the world needs us. We have things on the way that will continue to amaze. We serve individuals and businesses, and have pioneered two entire industries and a whole new class of devices. We are leaders in areas as varied as machine learning and logistics, and if the idea of an Amazon requires another new institutional skill, we are flexible and patient enough to learn it.
Keep inventing and don’t despair when the idea seems crazy at first. Remember to wander. Let curiosity be your compass. It’s still day 1.
Introvert. Beer guru. Communicator. Travel fanatic. Web advocate. Certified alcohol geek. Tv buff. Subtly charming internet aficionado.