Amazon also has grappled with growing labor unrest as its work force has ballooned to 1.3 million employees. Last year, some of the company’s warehouse workers expressed discomfort with safety conditions amid the pandemic, forcing Amazon to undertake emergency actions and to hire even more aggressively. More recently, workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Ala., have been trying to organize a union.
And competition remains stiff. Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and itself an industry-transforming force, recently introduced a competitor to Amazon Prime called Walmart+. It has made major investments in talent and technology to keep pace with Amazon, buying Jet.com and a slew of other e-commerce companies.
Amazon’s announcement marks the second major executive transition at the company in the past year. In August, Jeff Wilke, the chief executive of Amazon’s vast consumer business, said he planned to retire in early 2021 after more than two decades with the company. Dave Clark, who ran the fulfillment and logistics operations, was promoted to replace him.
Mr. Jassy has long been a trusted lieutenant to Mr. Bezos. Mr. Jassy, who grew up in New York, joined Amazon in 1997 when it was still a start-up and took on different roles as the company expanded.
In the early 2000s, Mr. Jassy became Mr. Bezos’ “shadow,” accompanying him to meetings and on business trips. He eventually laid the foundation for Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing business, which he grew into a massive engine of innovation and profit. The cloud business generated $45 billion in sales last year, up 30 percent from a year earlier.
Mr. Olsavsky said the company would announce Mr. Jassy’s successor as head of the cloud business in the coming months.
“You really had to pick somebody inside for this company, and Andy is the perfect choice,” said Matt McIlwain, a managing director at Madrona Venture Group, an early Amazon investor.