Amazon begins new chapter as Bezos hands over CEO role
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos stepped down as the CEO Monday as the multinational technology company navigates the challenges of a world fighting to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. Bezos, Amazon's biggest shareholder with a stake worth about $180 billion, will still hold sway over the company he started out of his Seattle garage in 1995. He now takes over the role of executive chair.
The company's reins have been handed over to Andy Jassy
Andy Jassy, who ran Amazon's cloud-computing business, replaced Bezos, a change that the company announced in February. Jassy, who has been with Amazon since 1997, takes the helm of the $1.7 trillion company that benefited greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic, more than tripling its profits in the first quarter of 2021 and posting record revenue as customers grew ever more dependent on online shopping.
Amazon is facing challenges from its labor force
Meanwhile, Amazon faces activism from a restive workforce just as a rapid economic recovery causes a labor crunch with retailers, manufacturers, and other companies competing for workers with higher wages and other benefits. Amazon earlier defeated its workers' attempts to unionize at an Alabama warehouse but faces a more formidable challenge as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters launches broader efforts to unionize Amazon workers.
Bezos to focus on Blue Origin and 'The Washington Post'
Earlier this year, Bezos said he planned to devote more time to side projects, including his space exploration company Blue Origin, philanthropic initiatives, and overseeing The Washington Post. First up, he'll fulfill his childhood dream of traveling to space. Bezos, 57, will blast into space on July 20 when Blue Origin makes its first flight with a crew, bringing along his younger brother Mark.
Jassy to face the challenges to protect Amazon's supremacy
Jassy ran Amazon's cloud-computing business that powers video-streaming site Netflix and many others, making it one of Amazon's most profitable businesses. Among Jassy's challenges are growing calls for tighter regulation on tech giants. A report by the House Judiciary Committee in October called for possibly breaking up Amazon and others, making it harder for them to acquire companies and imposing new rules to safeguard competition.
Amazon is the second-largest private employer in the US
Bezos founded Amazon as an online bookstore and built it into a shopping and entertainment empire that is the second-largest private employer in the US, behind Walmart. Amazon, which is buying the MGM movie studio in its latest major acquisition, now makes movies and sofas, owns a grocery chain, and has plans to send satellites into space to beam internet service to Earth.