Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos has confirmed the date he will step down from leading the firm he created way back in the 1990s.

Bezos had announced in early February that after 27 years in charge, he would step down sometime in the third quarter and be succeeded by Amazon veteran Andy Jassy, who currently heads Amazon’s cloud computing business (AWS). Bezos will transition to executive chairman of the board.

But during the company’s annual shareholder meeting held on Wednesday, Bezos set the exact date for his departure as CEO, when announced that will he step down on 5 July, a date that he admits is sentimental for him.

Sentimental date

The timing is “sentimental,” Bezos was quoted by CNN as saying, noting that 5 July is the date Amazon was incorporated in 1994.

Want to know more? Read Silicon UK’s Tales in Tech History, about how Amazon transformed itself from an online retailer of books into a global e-commerce powerhouse.

“I’m very excited to move into the [executive] chair role, where I’ll focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives,” Bezos reportedly said Wednesday.

Bezos said he expects that Jassy – who has been at the company for 24 years and risen through its ranks to run its most profitable division – will be “an outstanding leader.”

“He has the highest of high standards and I guarantee Andy will never let the universe make us typical,” Bezos said. “He has the energy needed to keep alive in us what has made us special.”

Jassy’s replacement as head of AWS will be Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky.

Complex business

Jassy will inherit some big shoes to fill, as Amazon deals with a number of challenges spanning its vast and complex business empire.

Earlier this week Amazon announced it was purchasing veteran film studio MGM for $8.5 billion, as it beefs up its content library against the likes of Netflix, Disney+ and others.

But also this week Amazon was hit with a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of the District of Columbia (Washington DC).

Attorney General Karl Racine said he was suing Amazon on antitrust grounds, claiming the company’s practices have “raised prices for consumers and stifled innovation and choice across the entire online retail market.”

And that is not the only immediate challenge.

Last week tougher new laws in Germany were used to begin an antitrust investigation of Amazon over alleged market domination.

And in November 2020, the European Commission hit Amazon with its “Statement of Objections”, which it said concerns “the use of non-public independent seller data”.

It alleged that Amazon had used data on third-party sellers that use its marketplace to boost sales of its own-label goods.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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