Jeff Bezos’s Sudden Decision to Step Down Has Everyone Surprised

Jeff Bezos and his outstretched hands.
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

In surprising news, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced he will be stepping down as the chief executive officer in a press release. Bezos, an extremely wealthy man, will “transition to the role of Executive Chair” later this year, and Andy Jassy will take the reins as CEO and new subject of internet socialist ire. Jassy is currently the chief executive of Amazon’s cloud computing division and part-owner of the Seattle Krakens.

Bezos’ puzzling retirement comes out of the blue. In a letter to Amazon employees, he says he intends “to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives” and lauds “invention” as key to Amazon’s success. He notably does not explain why he is stepping down as CEO, leaving the internet to come up with their own guesses; hilarity predictably ensues as Twitter imagines Bezos’ new career path.

In 2020, Bezos’ net worth skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the quarantined masses were stuck ordering goods from Amazon due to store closures. His $113 billion fortune nearly doubled to $203.1 billion in the last year alone, which is truly an incomprehensible sum of money. One Twitter user helpfully re-upped this video, which offers a visualization of his wealth using grains of rice.

Other Twitter uses pointed out the many criticisms of Bezos’ tenure as Amazon CEO, including accusations of stolen wages, unsafe working conditions, COVID-19 outbreaks at fulfillment centers, and more. On the same day he announced his role transition, the Federal Trade Commission ordered Amazon to pay $6.7 million in back wages to its Amazon Flex delivery workers.

Related: MacKenzie Bezos To Give Away Half Her $37 Billion Fortune