For the first time this year, a key indicator of sentiment in the oil market has gone negative.
As of Monday 5th July, Jeff Bezos is no longer Amazon CEO, having stepped down from his role after 27 years. Bezos has held the position since he founded the company back in 1994. He is handing over the reins to Amazon veteran Andy Jassy
Who is Andy Jassy?
Andy Jassy joined Amazon in 1997. The story goes that Bezos and Jassy’s most memorable encounter occurred during a game of ‘broomball’ – a cross between lacrosse and football created by another Amazon executive. During the match, a newly recruited Jassy accidentally hit Bezos over the head with a kayak paddle. Since then, he’s been quickly and repeatedly promoted by Bezos.
Jassy developed the company’s cloud-computing platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), in 2003. Before stepping up to the position of CEO, Jassy was the Chief Executive of the AWS division.
AWS has been a huge success for the online retailer. At present, the platform contributes approximately 42% of Amazon’s total profits. In 2020, AWS brought in $13.53 billion in net income – a much larger figure than the $9.36 billion generated from the e-commerce side.
“Jeff is not really going anywhere. It’s more of a restructuring of who’s doing what,” said Amazon’s Chief Financial Officer, Brian Olsavsky. His comments highlight that Jassy already plays an integral role in Amazon’s operations and that Bezos will still have input on various decisions.
Jeff Bezos’ New Focus
Although Jeff Bezos has stepped down as Amazon CEO, he remains the online retailer’s Chairman of the Board. Bezos also owns the largest stake in the company – an impressive 10.3%. Since 1998, his wealth has increased by 12,425%, and he is now worth nearly $202 billion, making him Forbes’ richest person in the world.
Bezos plans to shift his focus to “new products and early initiatives” now that he’s relinquished his CEO title. According to reports, Bezos is planning to devote more of his time to various personal projects. Among his most immediate new ventures is the maiden passenger voyage of his private spaceflight company, Blue Origin. The journey is scheduled for 20th July, and the four passengers are Bezos, his brother Mark, Mary Wallace ‘Wally’ Funk, and an unknown customer who paid $28 million for the seat at auction.
Bezos will also be investing more of his time in his charities, the Bezos Day One Fund and the Bezos Earth Fund, and overseeing the newspaper he owns, The Washington Post.
Where is Amazon Heading?
There is much speculation around where Amazon is heading and whether its current success is sustainable.
Amazon did phenomenally well during the pandemic and recorded its best first-quarter earnings in 2021. The Seattle-based company saw its revenue hit $108.5 billion in Q1, surging 44% year-over-year. However, there are concerns that as the economy begins to reopen, e-commerce growth could slow for the online retailer. As a result, new CEO Jassy will need to find fresh avenues of revenue.
Additionally, Amazon is currently being probed by Lina Khan, who was sworn in as a chair of the Federal Trade Commission last month. The investigation is thought to involve a conflict of interest wherein Amazon sells third-party products and its own versions of said products. However, Amazon is pressing for the recusal of Khan, who criticised the company’s power in a 2017 article for the Yale Law Journal.
Unionisation is also threatening the online retailer from within, while pressures from local competitors like Walmart are mounting. It is now up to Andy Jassy to continue leading Amazon down the path of success while tackling these challenges along the way.
At the time of writing, Amazon has a market capitalisation of $1.77 trillion.
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