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Jeff Bezos to Step Down as Amazon CEO

Big announcement yesterday from Amazon: Jeff Bezos, its founder and CEO will be stepping down later this year.

From Bezos’ letter to employees:

This journey began some 27 years ago. Amazon was only an idea, and it had no name. The question I was asked most frequently at that time was, “What’s the internet?” Blessedly, I haven’t had to explain that in a long while.

Today, we employ 1.3 million talented, dedicated people, serve hundreds of millions of customers and businesses, and are widely recognized as one of the most successful companies in the world.

How did that happen? Invention. Invention is the root of our success. We’ve done crazy things together, and then made them normal. We pioneered customer reviews, 1-Click, personalized recommendations, Prime’s insanely-fast shipping, Just Walk Out shopping, the Climate Pledge, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, infrastructure cloud computing, Career Choice, and much more. If you get it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. People yawn. And that yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive.

It’s hard to overstate how much Bezos’ work has impacted the world. The Amazon story is very clear, but transparent to many people is how much of an impact AWS has had on startups, tech, and nearly every online business today. It’s astounding.

The announcement seems very reminiscent of the Bill Gates announcement over 20 years ago with the same move. First to chairman, then retirement years later. Imagine if, like Gates, Bezos uses his focus and skills for the public good and philanthropy.

Nice timing here too: Amazon just delivered its first $100 billion quarter.