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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to Step Down as CEO Later This Year

The second richest man in the world founded Amazon in Seattle in 1994

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will step down as chief executive of the company later this year, the tech giant shared during its Q4 earnings report on Tuesday.

“Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will transition to role of Executive Chair in Q3, Andy Jassy to become Chief Executive Officer of Amazon at that time,” the company said in a statement.

That time frame means Jassy, the current CEO of Amazon Web Services who launched that unit in 2003, will take over between April and June of this year.

Bezos founded Amazon in Seattle in 1994. The company has expanded from an online book retailer into an ecommerce powerhouse, while also branching out into a number of other industries, including filmmaking and entertainment distribution.

Amazon’s growth has helped earn Bezos a fortune, with Bloomberg on Tuesday ranking him the second-richest man in the world with a net worth of $188 billion. (Elon Musk, at $190 billion, is currently the world’s richest person.)

In an email to Amazon employees on Tuesday, Bezos said he intends to “focus my energies and attention on new products and initiatives” in his new role. Jassy, a Harvard MBA who joined Amazon in 1997 and helped develop and grow the company’s lucrative cloud business, will be an “outstanding leader,” Bezos said.

At the same time, Bezos announced he would be transitioning into a new role, Amazon reported Q4 sales of $125.56 billion — making it the fourth company ever, behind Walmart, ExxonMobil and Apple to make more than $100 billion in a quarter. The company also reported $14.09 in earnings per share; those figures easily trumped Wall Street’s estimates of $119.7 billion in revenue and $7.24 EPS.

Amazon’s share price was down 0.5% in after-hours trading.