The world’s wealthiest man is stepping back from the day-to-day operations of the business and handing the reins to Andy Jassy.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has officially stepped down as the company’s chief executive, handing that role over to Andy Jassy, in order to focus on “new products and early initiatives”.
With a total net worth of $203bn (£146bn) according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the 57-year-old is now expected to devote more of his time to a handful of personal projects.
Among the most immediate adventures for Mr Bezos is a launch with his private spaceflight company Blue Origin, scheduled for 20 July, on which he will be joined by his brother, Mark; a mystery customer who paid $28m (£20m) for the seat in an auction; and 82-year-old Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk.
The Amazon founder also said he would be investing more of his time (and one expects, wealth) in fighting climate change and overseeing The Washington Post, the newspaper he owns.
As Amazon’s chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky told reporters: “Jeff is not really going anywhere. It’s more of a restructuring of who’s doing what.”
Bezos also retains just over 10% of all of Amazon’s shares, making him the single largest shareholder and securing his ability to shape the decisions of the new CEO, especially when they disagree about the firm’s strategic direction.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, explained: “The fact he is stepping down as chief executive of Amazon doesn’t mean he is disappearing; far from it as he is becoming executive chairman.
“The chairman’s role is to keep the chief executive in order, so Bezos will still be engaged in the business and be able to provide guidance on a range of strategic issues.
“He is also a major shareholder which gives him considerable influence on how the business is run.”