Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Amazon Reports Blowout Results as Jeff Bezos Steps Down

By Daniel Sparks - Updated Feb 2, 2021 at 8:43PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Bezos' successor is taking the helm of one of history's best businesses at a time of incredible momentum. Godspeed, Andy Jassy.

E-commerce accelerated during the second and third quarters of 2020, when consumers sheltered at home and turned to the internet to order goods. That acceleration doesn't seem to have tapered off -- at least not according to Amazon's (AMZN -2.30%) blowout fourth-quarter results. Sales surged during the quarter and earnings per share skyrocketed.

Despite Amazon's surprising results, there was even bigger news in the e-commerce giant's fourth-quarter update than the company's strong financial performance. As of the third quarter of 2021, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is stepping down from his current role, transitioning into an executive chairperson position.

Boxes in an Amazon fulfillment center.

Image source: Amazon. 

Why Bezos is stepping down

Bezos has had quite a run as Amazon's CEO. The idea of Amazon came to Bezos about 27 years ago. Today, the founder and CEO is one of the richest people in the world. He's ready to step back from the company's most important executive position, handing over the reins to Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy.

In Bezos' new role as executive chairman, the founder will spend his time on "new products and early initiatives," Bezos said in an email to employees.

Is this just a creative way to mask a retirement? Not according to Bezos.

"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 founder explained. "I've never had more energy, and this isn't about retiring. I'm super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have."


Jassy is taking over Amazon at a time of staggering momentum.

"Amazon couldn't be better positioned for the future," Bezos said in his email. "We are firing on all cylinders, just as the world needs us to. We have things in the pipeline that will continue to astonish."

The company's fourth-quarter financial results put figures behind Bezos' interpretation of the company's current state. Revenue during the period surged 44% year over year to a record $125.6 billion. This is up from $87.4 billion in the year-ago quarter and $96.1 billion in the third quarter of 2020.

Net income? $7.2 billion in Q4 alone, translating to $14.09 per share. This is up from $3.3 billion and $6.47 in the year-ago quarter.

Analyst expectations were laughable compared to these results, with consensus forecasts for revenue and earnings per share coming in at $119.7 billion and $7.23, respectively.

Good luck, Jassy. You're taking the wheel of one of the best-built businesses to have ever existed. The stakes are high -- and so are the expectations. But at least you have momentum working in your favor.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$2,209.15 (-2.30%) $-51.95

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/16/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.