Amazon founder Bezos to step down as CEO as quarterly sales hit $133b

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will step down as chief executive officer (CEO) of the company and become its executive chairman.

This summer, Mr Bezos, 57, will hand the keys of the world's largest online retailer to Mr Andy Jassy, head of its cloud division Amazon Web Services, known as AWS.

The announcement on Tuesday settles a long-running question about who would replace the world's second-richest person at the company's helm.

Mr Bezos is ending his role as CEO on a high note: The business he began as an Internet bookseller 27 years ago is now one of the world's most valuable companies and posted three consecutive record profits after losses in decades prior.

On Tuesday, Amazon reported quarterly sales above US$100 billion (S$133 billion) for the first time.

In a letter to Amazon employees, Mr Bezos said he would "stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives" but would pivot towards philanthropic initiatives, including his Day One Fund and Bezos Earth Fund, and other business ventures in space exploration and journalism.

"I've never had more energy, and this isn't about retiring," Mr Bezos wrote. "I'm super passionate about the impact I think these organisations can have."

Mr Bezos, 57, founded Amazon in his garage in 1994 and went on to grow it into a colossus that dominates online retail, with operations in streaming music and television, groceries, and more. - REUTERS, AFP