Opinion: The departure of Jeff Bezos won’t change much at Amazon — for now

It is time for Inc. founder Jeff Bezos to take his flip because the founder/senior statesman — just like the Wizard of Oz, usually unseen however with seemingly all-powerful management — whereas the boss of Amazon’s cloud-computing arm takes the lead.

The change at the highest won’t change much about Amazon
however may have an effect on essentially the most essential alternative the corporate faces: Whether Amazon Web Services and stay below the identical roof.

While Bezos is usually in contrast with Apple Inc.

co-founder Steve Jobs, his departure from the CEO function extra carefully resembles the passing of batons by tech CEO legends like Bill Gates of Microsoft Corp.

and Larry Page of Alphabet Inc.

Bezos is stepping down as CEO as the company hits new records, however will stay chairman of the e-commerce big he based within the early days of the dot-com bubble.

Just as Page handed over the reins to the chief of his most worthwhile division, Sundar Pichai — first as CEO of Google after which Alphabet — Bezos tabbed Andy Jassy from the company’s biggest profit generator, Amazon Web Services. Addressing his post-CEO ambitions, Bezos on Tuesday sounded extra like Gates, who went on to construct one of the biggest nonprofits on this planet.

“I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring,” Bezos stated in an e-mail to staff that detailed plans for the Bezos Earth Fund nonprofit, rocket-building at Blue Origin and his possession of the Washington Post. “I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have.”

At Amazon, Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky stated Bezos could be concerned in what Amazon calls “one-way-door issues” — giant strategic selections, such because the acquisition of Whole Foods.

“Jeff’s always been involved with that, and that’s where we’ll keep his time focused on,” Olsavsky informed analysts on the corporate’s earnings name.

That actually won’t imply much of a change externally, and certain internally as properly. Those sorts of large swings have appeared just like the issues Bezos has lengthy centered on, whereas leaving the day-to-day administration to lieutenants. In newer years, Bezos has been much less the general public face of Amazon, amid so much consideration on his rising wealth, the business race to area, and his latest standing as a media magnate. He doesn’t take part in quarterly earnings calls with Wall Street and as an alternative writes an annual shareholder letter and presides over Amazon’s annual common assembly. More lately, his public appearances have ranged from elite expertise conferences, once they had been nonetheless a factor, to congressional testimony in latest antitrust congressional hearings.

“Bezos isn’t as visible as some CEOs, it will be interesting to see if Andy takes a different tact,” stated Ed Anderson, a Gartner Inc. analyst. “Andy has been the visible focal spokesman for AWS. It will be interesting to see if he takes that with Amazon as well.”

Also learn: CEO-to-be Andy Jassy helped build Amazon’s cloud

Jassy can even need to show himself succesful of working extra than simply AWS, which is a important half of Amazon however nowhere near the scope of the complete firm.

“They are digital commerce, they are a grocery store, they are a trucking company, they are in shipping, warehousing and manufacturing. They have a lot of people in their ecosystem, a lot of blue-collar workers, they were the largest employer in the pandemic. There are a lot of things going on,” Daniel Newman, principal analyst at Futurum Research, stated.

“Andy was literally prototyping his ability to lead Amazon, through his work at AWS,” Neman added.

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AWS CEO Andy Jassy speaks throughout the AWS re:Invent 2019 convention in Las Vegas.

Associated Press

One conundrum Jassy could face when he’s within the CEO seat later this yr is the largest query about AWS: Will it stay half of Amazon? Jassy has labored on AWS for the reason that starting and has been its most vocal proponent, so it appears unlikely that he would select to separate it from the corporate he now runs.

Scott Galloway, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, predicted in a recent book that Amazon could spin off the business, probably to go off any antitrust actions the federal government could take with Big Tech over the subsequent yr or so. On Twitter, Galloway was requested Tuesday about his prediction, and stated Jassy’s promotion seemingly reduces the chances of that occuring, whereas highlighting Bezos’s achievements.

“I think [a potential AWS spinoff] is one of the issues that Andy will have to deal with in some form,” Gartner’s Anderson stated. “This has been one of those things growing over time. There are good arguments to make both ways. They operate as pretty independent organizations right now.”

Bezos will certainly have his say in that call, simply as Gates had a say in Microsoft’s course till final yr. It could appear unthinkable for traders to think about Amazon with out the visionary Bezos, however he may stay as government chairman for years, even a long time, as Gates proved.

Investors ought to hope that Jassy is extra like Microsoft’s present chief government, Satya Nadella, than Gates’s fast successor, Steve Ballmer, who struggled to maneuver Microsoft into the cell period. As Jassy makes an attempt to maneuver Amazon into its subsequent period, Bezos will nonetheless be round to ensure he succeeds.

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