Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will step down the day after Independence Day. The founder of the world’s biggest online retail company will give up his day-to-day handling of the business three decades ago.
Andy Jassy To Take Over
Speaking Wednesday at Amazon’s shareholder meeting Bezos announced that he will step down on July 5. During the event, his last as Chief Executive Officer, Bezos said that Andy Jassy, currently CEO of Amazon Web Services, will take over the position.
While the company previously announced the transition, Bezos said he’s not going to go far. He will remain involved with the company as executive chairman.
“I’m very excited to move into the exec chair role where I will focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives,” Bezos said.
Why July 5?
Why did Jeff Bezos choose July 5? “We chose that date because it’s sentimental for me: the day Amazon was incorporated in 1994, exactly 27 years ago,” the Amazon founder said.
Bezos also talked about his successor, Andy Jassy. “He has the highest of high standards and I guarantee that Andy will never let the universe make us typical. He has the energy needed to keep alive in us what has made us special,” Bezos said.
Jassy, an Amazon veteran since 1997, spearheaded the launch of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2003. Eighteen years later, the cloud computing division is now Amazon’s most profitable segment.
Last year, AWS generated revenues of $45.3 billion, up 30% from the previous year. AWS also posted an amazing operating margin of 30%. In contrast, the entire Amazon organization only managed 5.9%.
Big Moves from Jassy and Bezos
Months before the CEO turnover, Jassy already started making big moves of his own. With Amazon consolidating its media and entertainment division, Amazon needed a new overseer.
Jassy persuaded former senior executive Jeff Blackburn to return and lead the new division. Blackburn’s official return is set for June 7.
Also at the shareholders meeting, Bezos talked about Amazon’s megadeal to acquire MGM studios. He said the reason for the $8.45 billion acquisition “is really very simple: MGM has a vast, deep catalog of much-loved intellectual property.
With the talented people at MGM and Amazon Studios, we can reimagine and develop that IP for the 21s century.”
Boost Amazon Prime
The acquisition of MGM hopes to boost Amazon Prime Video’s membership. Amazon can now offer storied movie franchises such as James Bond and Rocky to its customers.
“The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team.
It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling,” said Mike Hopkins, Senior Vice President of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, in unveiling the buy.
Right now, Amazon is currently #2 in the global streaming services arena, with 175 million members. Its closest competitors are Disney (103 million) and frontrunner Netflix (207 million).
Adding the MGM library such as James Bond can help sustain current members’ interests while attracting new membership.
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