Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) shares continued to rise in after-hours trading this morning (our time), despite news that Amazon founder and CEO Jess Bezos will be stepping back from the company.
This morning, we reported the shock news that Mr Bezos, who has lead Amazon since founding it way back in 1994, is planning to step down as CEO later this year. Mr Bezos will move to the less-active ‘executive chair’ role, while the head of the fast-growing Amazon Web Services Andy Jassy will step up to the CEO position.
Amazon and Bezos
Mr Bezos has long been synonymous with Amazon. After being the ‘brains behind Amazon’ as its founder, he has headed the company for its entire history. He has also become the world’s richest person in the process, a title he has held on and off for years now. That’s despite having to split his massive Amazon stake in a well-publicised divorce a few years ago with ex-wife Mackenzie Scott.
According to Forbes, Ms Scott is now one of the richest people in the world, and the world’s third-richest woman with a fortune of close to US$60 billion. However, Jeff Bezos remains the wealthiest person in the world with a fortune of US$196 billion after a recent brawl with Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk for the title.
In the announcement, Bezos stated that “as exec chair, I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives”. But he also flagged that he is now more excited to spend some of his time on other projects like “the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions”.
The king is dead…
But investors don’t seem too fazed by this momentous changing of the guard at Amazon. In fact, Amazon shares closed 1.11% higher for the US trading day, including up another 0.3% after hours after the announcement was made.
At the current eye-watering stock price of US$3,380, the company is up 6% year to date, and up more than 68% over the past year. Since 1997, Amazon shares are up a mind-blowing 195,275%. That return would have turned a $1,000 investment at the time into almost $2 million today.
However, Bezos’ departure wasn’t the only news out of Amazon today. The company also announced its quarterly results for the quarter ending 31 December 2020 this morning.
This report included massive beats on sales and net income. On the former, Amazon crossed US$100 billion in sales for the first time ever in a quarter. On the latter, Amazon announced US$7.2 billion in net income, up from just US$3.3 billion over the same period in 2019. That was clearly enough for investors to adopt a ‘the king is dead, long live the king’ attitude.