A new day is dawning at the world’s leading ecommerce hub. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos formally stepped down as its president and CEO on Monday, July 5th.
The 57-year-old online retail and IT solutions mogul was succeeded to the position by long-time executive Andy Jassy.
Jassy has been with the company since 1997 and helped Bezos spearhead Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2003. This was a move that ushered in the cloud-computing era. Before taking over the Amazon.com presidency, he served as CEO of AWS for the better part of fifteen years, beginning in 2006 following its incorporation.
For his part, Bezos will continue to keep a grip on Amazon as he steps into the role of executive chairman. Nevertheless, he has declared that he will continue the innovative streak that led him to build an empire from the business he founded in his garage back in 1995.
Bezos also said that he would be spending more time on several passion projects, including the management of The Washington Post, his Blue Origin initiative for space exploration, and a number of philanthropic endeavors.
A tough act to follow
Jassy, on the other hand, has his work cut out for him.
He now heads a company worth $1.7 trillion, which has weathered through the pandemic quite well. While several companies have seen their profits falter, Amazon managed to triple its earnings in the first quarter of this year.
Amazon capitalized on the forced shift from brick-and-mortar to online retail amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the company has seen a marked increase in the number of new customers over the past year. It’s a trend that is not about to disappear any time soon. Indeed, the focus on online retail may continue given the cautionary stance against the spread of the coronavirus.
However, Jassy has also inherited a company with ongoing labor issues. Bezos’ departure follows what has been a tumultuous time for Amazon, as the company has earned flak over the past few years regarding its treatment of employees.
Amazon’s labor woes
In what The New York Times has referred to as the company’s “great labor awakening,” Amazon employees have spoken out against the company’s lack of compassion, unfair working practices, unhealthy working environments, and union busting.
Earlier this year, the company managed to stop workers at one of its warehouses in Alabama, but this has only fuelled more vigorous calls to improve conditions and raise wages for employees.
Jassy also needs to face the tightening of regulation concerning large-scale tech companies and how his company is being reined in from becoming an ecommerce monopoly. In October 2020, the House Judiciary Committee called for more stringent corporate/industrial competition laws that will prevent Amazon and its counterparts from assimilating smaller corporations.