Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to step down as CEO

Jeff Bezos

Amazon has announced that Jeff Bezos is stepping down as CEO later this year, a role he has held since he founded the groundbreaking company more than 25 years ago.

Amazon said he will be replaced in the autumn by Andy Jassy, who runs Amazon’s cloud business. Bezos will then become the company’s executive chairman.

In a blog post to employees, Bezos said he planned to focus on new products and early initiatives being developed at Amazon.

He also said he will have more time for side projects: his space exploration company Blue Origin; the newspaper he owns, The Washington Post; and his charities.

Launched in 1995, Amazon was a pioneer of fast and free shipping that won over millions of shoppers who used the site to buy nappies, TVs and just about anything.

Under Bezos, Amazon also launched the first e-reader that gained mass acceptance, and its Echo listening device made voice assistants a more common sight in many living rooms.

As a child, Bezos was intrigued by computers and interested in building things, such as alarms he rigged in his parents’ home.

He earned a degree in electrical engineering and computer science at Princeton University, and then worked at several Wall Street companies.

He quit his job at DE Shaw to start an online retail business — though at first he was not sure what to sell.

Bezos quickly determined that an online bookstore would resonate with consumers. He and his wife, MacKenzie, whom he met at DE Shaw and married in 1993, set out on a road trip to Seattle — a city chosen for its abundance of tech talent and proximity to a large book distributor in Roseburg, Oregon.

While MacKenzie drove, Bezos wrote up the business plan for what would become Amazon.com.

Bezos convinced his parents and some friends to invest in the idea, and Amazon began operating out of the Bezos’ Seattle garage on 16 July 1995.