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Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder, will step down as CEO

NEW YORK -- Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon as an online bookstore and assembled it to a shopping and entertainment behemoth, will step down later this year as CEO, a part he's had for nearly 30 decades, to become executive chairman, the company announced Tuesday.

Bezos, 57, will likely be replaced in the summertime by Andy Jassy, that runs Amazon's cloud-computing business.

In a blog post to employees, Bezos said he planned to concentrate on new goods and ancient initiatives being developed at Amazon.

Bezos, who's the organization's biggest shareholder, will still have broad effect over Amazon.

"Jeff is not going anyplace," Amazon's Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky stated in a call with reporters. "It is more of a restructuring of who is doing what."

Launched in 1995, Amazon was a pioneer of quick, free shipping that won over tens of thousands of shoppers who used the website in order to purchase diapers, TVs and nearly anything else. Beneath Bezos, Amazon also established the first e-reader that gained mass acceptance, and its Echo listening device made voice supporters a common sight in living rooms.

As a young child, Bezos was fascinated by computers and interested in building matters, like alarms he rigged in his parents' home. He got a diploma in electrical engineering and computer science at Princeton University, then worked at several Wall Street companies.

He quit his job in D.E. Shaw to begin an internet retail business -- though at first he was not sure what to sell. Bezos quickly determined that an internet bookstore would resonate with consumers. He along with his today ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, whom he met in D.E. Shaw and wed in 1993, embark on a road trip to Seattle -- a town chosen because of its abundance of technology ability and closeness to a large book distributor in Roseburg, Oregon.

While Scott drove, Bezos wrote up the business plan for what would eventually become Amazon.com. Bezos persuaded his parents and a few friends to invest in the thought, and Amazon began operating from their Bezos' Seattle garage July 16, 1995.

Amazon has gone far beyond promoting paperbacks. It now generates movies, makes sofas, owns a grocery chain and even has plans to send satellites into space to beam internet service to earth. The company is among the most valuable in the world, worth almost $1.7 trillion.

During the ordeal, Amazon was one of the few retailers to profit as shoppers remained clear of malls and hauled in their own phones. On exactly the exact same day Amazon announced Bezos would step down, the company reported making a record gain in the last three weeks of 2020, and its quarterly earnings shot beyond $100 billion for the first time.

Bezos' riches also have swelled: His bet in Amazon is currently worth about $180 billion. For many years he stayed behind the scenes, running the company. More recently, he occasionally stepped into the spotlight, showing up in film premieres and Hollywood celebrations.

Scott obtained a stake in Amazon after the divorce worth almost $40 billion in the time. She's pledged to give away half her fortune .

Since Amazon has increased, so has scrutiny. Amazon and other tech giants have enjoyed light-touch regulation and star status in Washington for years, but calls for increased regulation are growing. A report by the House Judiciary Committee in October called for breaking up Amazon and many others, making it more difficult for them to obtain businesses and imposing new rules to safeguard competition.

Bezos is one of the last founders of a big tech company to still be CEO. The creators of Google, Oracle and Microsoft have stepped down from the top job of those companies they created. Facebook is still led by co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The cloud-computing business he conducts forces video-streaming site Netflix and many other businesses, and it has become Amazon's most profitable organization.

But he will also face many challenges.

"Amazon's size leaves some industries uneasy, some governments uncomfortable, and Andy Jassy will have to take care of the consequences," Anderson explained. "That will be some of the new age of his direction."

This story was updated to fix the transition period to summertime, not fall.

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