By Marc Arcas
San Francisco, Feb 2 (efe-epa).- The man most closely linked to Amazon, its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, on Tuesday took advantage of the firm’s presentation of record annual profits of $21.331 billion to announce that he will step down from his posts this summer.
The world’s richest man, according to the billionaires list compiled by Forbes magazine, will then become the firm’s executive chairman and will turn over the post of CEO to Andy Jassy, who currently heads the firm’s most profitable sector, the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing platform.
“When you look at our financial results, what you’re actually seeing are the long-run cumulative results of invention. Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition,” said Bezos, 57, in a letter to investors.
From his new position within Amazon, Bezos will continue to have significant influence over company decisions but he will not be so involved with the day to day operations and will have more time, as he himself said, to focus on other initiatives, both philanthropic and in terms of managing his other companies: Blue Origin and The Washington Post daily.
Meanwhile, Jassy, who began working for Amazon in 1997 – just three years after the firm’s founding as an online bookseller – has headed AWS since its inception, making it into the leader in the cloud computing industry, far ahead of competitors such as Microsoft’s Azure and Google’s Cloud.
At age 53, the Harvard educated Jassy to date has maintained a very discrete profile within Amazon, rarely emerging from the huge shadow cast by Bezos himself.
Amazon is currently valued at $1.7 trillion with more than 1.2 million employees around the world.
The CEO’s surprise announcement coincided with the firm’s presentation of its results for Fiscal 2020, during which it achieved net profits of $21.331 billion, almost double the $11.588 billion earned in 2019, thanks to the big surge in online shopping resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the past 12 months, the firm billed $386.064 billion, 38 percent more than the year before, while stockholders pocketed $42.64 in dividends per share compared with $23.46 per share the previous year.
As it saw its business boom, Amazon also significantly increased its long-term debt during the course of 2020 to $31.816 billion compared to the $23.414 in long-term debt it showed at the close of Fiscal 2019.
The segment of Amazon which Jassy manages increased its billing by some 30 percent to $45.370 billion, contributing $13.531 billion to the firm’s bottom line, more than half the company’s net profits for the year.
Amazon’s online business brought in a total of $236.282 billion, 38.4 percent more than during the previous year.
Outside the US, Amazon’s earnings amounted to a little less than half that amount – $104.412 billion – although they grew by 39.7 percent.
The company results and the announcement of the change at Amazon’s summit spurred buying of the firm’s shares on Wall Street, with shares moving up 1.78 percent to $3,440.19 after the close of regular trading.