Jeff Bezos to Step Down as Amazon CEO; Andy Jassy Moves Up

Share:
Andy Jassy (left), current CEO of Amazon Web Services, will take over as Amazon CEO when Jeff Bezos steps down in the third quarter of 2021. Both are pictured in FRONTLINE’s 2020 film “Amazon Empire.”

Andy Jassy (left), current CEO of Amazon Web Services, will take over as Amazon CEO when Jeff Bezos steps down in the third quarter of 2021. Both are pictured in FRONTLINE’s 2020 film “Amazon Empire.”

February 2, 2021

Nearly three decades after he founded Amazon, Jeff Bezos will step down from his role as the commercial juggernaut’s chief executive and “transition to the role of Executive Chair,” the company announced on Feb. 2.

“Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition,” Bezos said in a statement. In a message to employees published by the company, Bezos said his new role would involve a focus on “new products and early initiatives.”

“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,” the message said.

Andy Jassy, currently the CEO of Amazon Web Services, will become CEO when Bezos steps aside in the third quarter of 2021, the announcement said.

In February 2020, FRONTLINE released a two-hour documentary investigating how Bezos turned Amazon from a tiny bookseller run out of a garage into a business empire that is without precedent in the history of American capitalism.

Based on a year of reporting from a team led by James Jacoby and Anya Bourg, Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos raised tough questions about privacy, worker treatment and the cost of Amazon’s convenience. The documentary also revealed how the company is shaping consumers’ lives in ways that go far beyond commerce and examined questions about whether it was doing so in anticompetitive ways.

The documentary featured an interview with Jassy, excerpts of which are available online, on key issues facing the now-nearly-1.7-trillion-dollar company — including calls to break it up: “Simply because the company’s been successful in a few different business segments doesn’t mean it’s somehow too big,” Jassy said.

Jassy also defended the sale of Amazon’s facial recognition technology to law enforcement, a thread explored in the documentary: “We believe that governments and the organizations that are charged with keeping our communities safe have to have access to the most sophisticated, modern technology that exists,” Jassy said at the time. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, Amazon announced a moratorium on the sales of its facial recognition technology to law enforcement.

Stream Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos in its entirety below and read and watch interview excerpts with Jassy.


Patrice Taddonio

Patrice Taddonio, Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist, FRONTLINE

Twitter:

@ptaddonio

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

After Jan. 6, Investigating the Contours of a “Broad Fascist Movement” in the U.S.
In a scene from the new documentary “American Insurrection,” correspondent A.C. Thompson talks with sociologist Pete Simi about the state of domestic extremism in the U.S.
April 14, 2021
“I Felt Hate More Than Anything”: How an Active Duty Airman Tried to Start a Civil War
Steven Carrillo’s path to the Boogaloo Bois shows the hate group is far more organized and dangerous than previously known.
April 13, 2021
At George Floyd's Treatment Center, Recovering Clients See Racism in Addiction Assumptions
"Do you know how many times that could have been me?" Staff at a Minneapolis rehab facility that George Floyd attended see themselves in Floyd — and racism in theories about his drug use — the Star Tribune, our local journalism partner in Minneapolis, reports.
April 11, 2021
'Defending Our Existence': The Sung Family, From 2017 Film 'Abacus,' Talks About Anti-Asian Attacks, COVID
Thomas Sung and three of his daughters, all of whom were featured in the 2017 Oscar-nominated documentary "Abacus: Small Enough to Jail," spoke about how their community has weathered the pandemic and anti-Asian attacks in New York City.
April 9, 2021