News What is next for Jeff Bezos, and who is Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy?
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What is next for Jeff Bezos, and who is Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy?

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It started with books.

But now it’s a multinational technology company with 197 million people worldwide using the site each month.

In 26 years Jeff Bezos, 57, turned Amazon from a small website shipping hardbacks across the US into the world’s largest online retailer.

Now, the billionaire mogul is stepping down as CEO of the company he famously started in his garage, and into the role of chairman.

But he’s made it clear: This is not retirement.

“As Exec Chair 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,” Mr Bezos announced in an email to Amazon employees.

“I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring.

“I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organisations can have.”

All eyes will be on Bezos’ next moves – here’s what he wants us to know he’s up to.

Blue Origin

Forget Amazon – Mr Bezos once described Blue Origin, his space company, as his most important work.

Founded in 2000, the goal of the company is to make space travel more accessible.

jeff bezos
Blue Origin is Mr Bezos’s passion project.

It may not be as famous as fellow tech billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX, or as successful, but it shares the same aim – to advance space travel for humans.

The company’s plans are largely secret, but Mr Bezos has been spending almost $US1 billion a year on the company, funded by sales of Amazon stock.

The Washington Post

With a surprise sale in 2013, Mr Bezos stepped into the newspaper business, buying The Washington Post for $US250 million.

When he took over, the company was struggling with declining print revenue. He shifted direction to focus on the digital and technology side of the business.

Within three years the masthead had doubled its web traffic and become profitable.

Speaking in 2018, Mr Bezos said he bought the paper because he believed he could turn its fortunes around, and that it was a benefit to America.

“It is the newspaper in the capital city of the most important country in the world,” he said.

The Washington Post has an incredibly important role to play in this democracy. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.”

Bezos’ Earth Fund

Last year he launched the Bezos Earth Fund by donating $US10 billion, or 7.7 per cent of his net worth, to help fight climate change.

“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” he said.

“I want to work alongside others, both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share.”

Day 1 Fund

In 2018, Mr Bezos launched the charity Day 1 Fund with then-wife MacKenzie.

They poured $US2 billion into the goal of supporting homeless families and funding education opportunities.

The name came from his personal philosophy of approaching every day like it is the first, a principle he applied to Amazon.

“I talk often about the importance of maintaining a Day 1 mentality,” he said when launching the charity.

“It’s always Day 1, and I work hard to apply that mindset to everything I do.”

So who will replace him?

Andy Jassy has big shoes to fill.

Amazon’s current cloud computing head will step up and into the CEO role.

Mr Jassy joined Amazon in 1997 after Harvard Business School.

“I took my last final exam at HBS, the first Friday of May in 1997, and I started at Amazon next Monday,” Mr Jassy said in a Harvard Business School podcast in September last year.

“No, I didn’t know what my job was going to be, or what my title was going to be.”

Andy Jassy will be stepping into the CEO position.

Mr Jassy started as an assistant before having the groundbreaking idea of renting out computer storage on the internet.

In 2014 he started the Amazon Web Services (AWS) and pioneered cloud computing platforms.

AWS powers the tech infrastructure of companies all over the world by allowing them to rent space and programming from Amazon’s servers.

AWS became a $35 billion-a-year-business, is used by millions of customers and allowed companies like Uber and Air BnB to become household names.

Mr Bezos said in his resignation letter that he had “full confidence” in Mr Jassy.

“Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have,” he said.

“He will be an outstanding leader.”