(AP) — Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon as an online bookstore and built it into a shopping and entertainment behemoth, will step down later this year as CEO, a role he’s had for nearly 30 years, to become executive chairman, the company announced Tuesday.
Bezos, 57, will be replaced in the summer by Andy Jassy, who runs Amazon’s cloud-computing business.
In a blog post to employees, Bezos said he planned to focus on new products and early initiatives being developed at Amazon. He said he would have more time for side projects, including his space exploration company Blue Origin, his philanthropic initiatives and overseeing The Washington Post, which he owns.
Bezos, who is the company’s biggest shareholder, will still have broad influence over Amazon.
“Jeff is really not going anywhere,” Amazon’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said in a call with reporters. “It’s more of a restructuring of who’s doing what.”
Launched in 1995, Amazon was a pioneer of fast, free shipping that won over millions of shoppers who used the site to buy diapers, TVs and just about anything else. Under Bezos, Amazon also launched the first e-reader that gained mass acceptance, and its Echo listening device made voice assistants a common sight in living rooms.