Jeff Bezos to step down as Amazon CEO

Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com, who turned it from a simple online bookseller into one of the biggest technology companies in the world is stepping down from the CEO role.

Bezos, who will stay on as Executive Chairman of the board, made the announcement Tuesday in a letter to employees posted on the company's website.

He told his workers: "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."

Taking over the CEO role will be Andy Jassy, the head of the company's lucrative cloud computing unit Amazon Web Services, who will assume the top spot in the third quarter.

Jassy's unit saw a roughly 30 percent surge in fourth-quarter sales, according to quarterly results posted Tuesday.

As as whole, company sales and profits easily topped forecasts as Amazon joins the rare club of companies topping $100 billion in quarterly revenues.

It continues to benefit from a surge in online shopping during the global health crisis and consumers flocked to its site to do their holiday shopping.

Bezos - among the richest men in the world - said he will now have more time for his other endeavors -including his ambitions in space and his ownership of the Washington Post - writing in his letter:

“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. I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring."

Shares of Amazon have soared 18-thousand percent, not accounting for stock splits, since Bezos took the company public nearly 24 years ago.