Bezos, who founded Amazon as an online bookstore and built it into a shopping, tech and entertainment behemoth, is being replaced by Andy Jassy, who runs Amazon’s cloud-computing business.
That date of his official departure was sentimental for the longtime chief executive. It was 27 years ago, on July 5, 1994, that Amazon was officially incorporated.
"We chose that date because it's sentimental for me, the day Amazon was incorporated in 1994," Bezos said in his last shareholder meeting, according to Business Insider.
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 device made voice assistants a common sight in living rooms.
However, Bezos is still the company’s biggest shareholder, giving him broad influence over Amazon.
Amazon’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky also reiterated in a call with reporters that "Jeff is really not going anywhere."
Instead, "it’s more of a restructuring of who’s doing what," Olsavsky said.
In February, Bezos told employees in a blog post that 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.
"Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else," he wrote. "As Exec Chair I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions."
The move "isn’t about retiring" he said, adding that he has never had "more energy."'
"I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have," Bezos added.
Bezos is one of the last founders of a big tech company to still be CEO. The founders of Google, Oracle and Microsoft have all stepped down from the top job of the companies they created. Facebook is still led by co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Jassy, Bezos’ replacement, is a longtime Amazon executive, having worked at the company since 1997. The cloud-computing business he runs powers video-streaming site Netflix and many other companies, and it has become Amazon’s most profitable business.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.