Shares of the Seattle-based e-commerce giant were little changed Wednesday despite the news of the billionaire's exit as investors wagered the Amazon founder could still have an influence on operations. Amazon stock was holding just below record highs.
“It is not clear to us that Mr. Bezos will actually withdraw from day-to-day oversight of the business,” wrote Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities. “We expect him to continue to be integrally involved in company strategy.”
Bezos, who has been chief executive since he founded the company in 1994, grew Amazon into a $1.7 trillion e-commerce behemoth. The company was a $570 million online book retailer following its 1997 initial public offering.
This year, shares were up 3.78% year to date through Tuesday compared with the S&P 500’s 1.87% gain and have gained 65% during the past 52 weeks.
Bezos will give way to Andy Jassy, the current head of the Amazon Web Services, one of the company's fastest-growing arms.
Jassy, who co-founded Amazon Web Services in 2003 and has been at Amazon since 1997, is a “natural fit” to succeed Bezos, wrote Truist analyst Youssef Squali. Amazon Web Services accounts for about 70% of Amazon’s revenue.
“The transition to Andy Jassy’s leadership to be seamless and largely inconsequential,” Pachter wrote.
Amazon on Tuesday evening reported its first $100 billion quarter as online shopping amid the COVID-19 pandemic helped both earnings and revenue surge past Wall Street expectations. The company said 2020 sales totaled $386.1 billion, an annual record.