The end of an era: Jeff Bezos resigns as CEO of the company he founded thirty years ago. It has become, with him, one of the most capitalized companies globally. This is Amazon, the Seattle giant with which he became the richest man in the world and with which he upset online commerce. He announced it himself through a letter to his employees: I am thrilled to announce that he will move to the executive chair of the Amazon Board of Directors and that Andy Jassy will become CEO wrote the founder of Amazon. I intend to focus my energies and my attention – he pointed out in the message – on new products and first initiatives, Andy will be an exceptional leader and he has my full confidence.
In the 1990s Bezos, class of ’64, quit his job on Wall Street to sell books online and invest just $ 10,000 out of his own pocket. The rest of the story, from his first office with the writing Amazon made with a spray can on a plastic panel (which later became a motivational meme worldwide) to the rise of the charts of global billionaires. Yesterday the latest figures for yet another record quarter: profits more than doubled to 7.2 billion dollars and revenues increased by 44% to 125.6 billion. Then, with the markets closed, the announcement of the change to the guide resumed by all international sites. A particular choice, especially if contextualized in a year of global health emergency in which Amazon, unlike other businesses, has had explosive growth. While in fact, in the world, the retail trade has been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19, Amazon has seen sales and profits grow to excess in the last quarter of 2020, exceeding the threshold of 100 billion dollars in revenues. The ecommerce giant closed last year with overall revenues up 37% to 380.06 billion and 1.3 million employees.
And it must have been this very moment, the one in which the company reached the peak of success, to have made Bezos think that the right time had come to pass the baton. If done well, an invention, however surprising, becomes normal a few years later. People begin to yawn. But that yawn is the biggest compliment an inventor can receive – Bezos wrote to his employees -. When you look at our financial results, what you are actually seeing are the long-term cumulative results of that innovation. Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive and makes us the ideal moment for this transition. Who knows if investors will think the same way and how the markets will react to this choice, which came at the end of a thirty-year transformation process in which that small company that sold books was transformed and adapted to the needs of consumers: in ’99 the cd, then the services, from hosting to the cloud. After it was the turn of the kindle, physical bookstores, supermarkets but still ecommerce the beating heart of the company. Despite Bezos’ multiple interests and businesses, from the Washington Post – of which he owns – to Blue Origin, his space company. Yesterday, surprisingly, a passing of the baton that remains in line with his spirit, the one that prompted him, in 1997, to explain his philosophy in a letter to the shareholders: Experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings and up the ante when you see customer pleasure. .