Bezos announced Tuesday afternoon that he will step down as CEO in Q3 of 2021 and Amazon Web Services head Andy Jassy will take over. In the same release, Bezos disclosed that Amazon [$AMZN] sales exceeded $100 billion in a quarter for the first time and earnings reached a record level for the third consecutive quarter, notching a record-breaking year.
“When you look at our financial results, what you’re actually seeing are the long-run cumulative results of invention,” Bezos said in Tuesday’s announcement. “Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition.” Real MVP: Uber Embraces Our Inner Degenerate & Buys An Alcohol Delivery Service
Bezos will stay on as executive chairman of the company when Jassy steps into the CEO position. Jassy has led AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing startup that became an outright leader in a category it basically created, since the beginning. “Those of us who know Andy are excited to see him take on this greater responsibility,” CFO Brian Olsavsky mentioned in a conference call Tuesday. “He is a visionary leader, a great operator and he understands what makes Amazon such a special innovative company.”
The shuffle at the top is not the first this year for Amazon, with the CEO of Amazon’s e-commerce business, Jeff Wilke, parted at the beginning of the year and was replaced by Dave Clark. Amazon didn’t name a new AWS CEO to replace Jassy, with Olsavsky saying “We’ll talk more about that in the future, but for today, it’s about Andy and Jeff Bezos.”
Bezos “will be involved in many large one-way-door issues, as we say, meaning the more important decisions like acquisitions, things like strategies, and going into grocery and other things,” Olsavsky said. “Jeff’s always been involved with that and that’s where we’ll keep his time focused on.” DraftKings is Begging to Breakout as Gambling Legalizations Increase
Bezos noted in a letter to employees that he intends “to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives” as executive chairman. “Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else,” Jeff wrote. “As Executive Chairman I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but 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’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring.”
During Bezos’s announcement, Amazon quietly reported Q4 revenue of $125.6 billion, crushing its own forecast and analysts’ expectations. Profit touched a record for the third consecutive quarter, as the rumors about Amazon not being a profitable company completely dissapated as it recorded annual earnings of $21.3 billion, nearly double the $11.59 billion in 2019 profit.
Revenue for 2020 jumped to $386.1 billion from $280.5 billion, as Amazon’s focus on online sales and swift delivery sling with its Amazon Web Services cloud-computing offering found wider acceptance as the virus forced consumers to stay home and businesses to support remote workforces.
For Q4, Amazon posted earnings of $7.2 billion, or $14.09 a share, up from $6.47 a share in the 2019 holiday. Amazon’s revenue total rose 44% from the previous holiday period’s total of $87.44 billion. Analysts on average predicted Q4 earnings of $7.20 a share on sales of $119.72 billion.
Amazon seeks to continue hitting $100-billion quarters with ease, guiding for Q1 sales of $100 billion to $106 billion, up from $75.45 billion in the Q1 of 2019. While Amazon’s financial growth, especially in recent years, has led to yuge growth in the company’s valuation and importance, Bezos zeroed in on other initiatives in his employee letter. Robinhood Adds 1 Million Accounts After Getting Dunked On All Week
“As Amazon became large, we decided to use our scale and scope to lead on important social issues. Two high-impact examples: our $15 minimum wage and the Climate Pledge,” he wrote. “In both cases, we staked out leadership positions and then asked others to come along with us. In both cases, it’s working. Other large companies are coming our way. I hope you’re proud of that as well.”