The founder and CEO of Amazon (AMZN -3.62%), Jeff Bezos, is undoubtedly the most significant corporate figure of his day. With a history of invention that may be unmatched in the IT industry, Bezos is credited with turning Amazon from a scruffy start-up selling books into a worldwide tech powerhouse with leadership positions in e-commerce and cloud computing.
In its fourth-quarter earnings report released Tuesday after the bell, the firm shockingly revealed Bezos' impending transition from CEO to executive chairman. Bezos, who is 57 years old, is still a long way from retirement, and there had been no indication that he will stand down as CEO.
However, the way investors reacted to the announcement may have surprised more people than his choice to move on. Amazon stock was actually trading higher in the after-hours session, finishing up 0.3%. Typically, when a highly regarded chief executive departs, the price tankes, especially when it's a surprise. However, the Bezos announcement unquestionably eclipses any set of quarterly numbers, even though the quarterly release had a sizable profit beat.
Bezos has previously described how he came to make the choice to create Amazon as a part of a method he calls the Regret Minimization Framework. Even if Amazon failed, he knew he wouldn't regret his choice when he was 80; nevertheless, he would regret not trying.
One of the most valuable corporations in the world, Amazon just finished the year with revenue of about $400 billion and is far more lucrative than anybody could have predicted only a few years ago.
His departure is the largest test yet of the culture he has established at Amazon, even if he leaves the firm in excellent form. The digital giant benefits from a wide range of competitive advantages, including the Prime reward program and its stellar reputation for customer service, which should fuel the company's development in the years to come.
Amazon must contend with a constantly evolving field of rivals, though, since the internet sector is one that adapts quickly. Currently, there aren't many reasons to be concerned with the stock, but keep a watch on Jassy's demeanor and his initial decisions after he becomes leadership this summer. Bezos' record undoubtedly sets the bar high, despite the fact that he is well-prepared.