During Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Jeff Bezos announced that he will be formally stepping down as Amazon CEO on 5th July. He will be succeeded by Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS) since its inauguration in 2003.
In February this year, Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) had announced that Bezos would stand down at a later time during the year. Speculators’ thoughts were on Andy Jassy or Jeff Wilke taking over, with the latter being the former CEO of Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer business following his retirement in August.
At the virtual shareholder meeting, Bezos stated that sentimental reasons were behind the setting of his stand down date as it will mark exactly 27 years since the company was launched in 1994.
As of July, Bezos CEO position will be replaced with the executive chairman of Amazon’s board and his duties will mostly revolve around Amazon’s initiatives such as the Blue Origin Federation, Amazon Day 1 Fund, The Washington Post, and Bezos Earth Fund.
Jeff Bezos and Final Shot at Amazon
In a letter addressed to Amazon’s shareholders concerning the company’s union vote, Bezos stated that the shareholders’ Chair was not comfortable with the recent union vote in Bessemer. For this reason, he added, the company should do better for the sake of its employees. Moreover, he expressed dissatisfaction with the media for inaccurate reports about the company treating its employees like robots.
Employees had been taking votes in Bessemer concerning the unionization of US Amazon. The majority of them voted against the union. However, the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) filed a hearing at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) arguing interference in the elections by Amazon.
The labor issues at the company became conspicuous especially since the company has 1.3 million employees having hired half a million more during the pandemic. It is now the second-largest private employer in the US.
In another part of Bezos’ letter, he updated the company’s prime members number to 200 million, a notable increase from last year’s 150 million. This development is in line with soaring profits owing to increased pandemic sales. He also mentioned the company’s climate pledge which the company is getting supporters to sign in its favor.
Finally, Bezos parting shot was a quote from one of Richard Dawkins’ books stating “Staving off death is a thing that you have to work at…”. This was an encouragement for the company to keep its work pace and innovation to remain distinctive. The quote was also enforcement to his 20-year philosophy as stated in his first annual letter in 1997, “It must always be day 1”.