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Amazon Will Be Just Fine Without Jeff Bezos

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Having an antifragile approach is a big reason why.

Amazon (AMZN 0.73%) has been an amazing stock since its IPO in 1997 with founder Jeff Bezos at the helm. But now that Bezos is stepping down from the CEO role, what will happen to the company? On a Fool Live episode recorded on March 17, Fool contributors Brian Stoffel, Brian Feroldi, and Brian Withers discuss why investors shouldn't be worried.

Brian Stoffel: All right. We'll move right on to the next stock, which is Amazon. Amazon reported their full-year earnings. I just want to go through what it did. This green area right here, that's North American e-commerce, that's when you and I order things, I don't know, like diapers for my one- or two-year-old. This section right here, blue, that's the same thing, only outside of North America. But this yellow section right here, very important, that's Amazon Web Services. Let's go through how each of these did real quick.

I'm going to make you a little dizzy here for just a second. North America, their sales were up 40%, which is impressive. Obviously, the pandemic didn't hurt. Operating income, importantly, was up even more. This is what I really want to focus on. International sales were up 57%, but it is now producing an operating income. For a really long time, it did not produce an operating income. Finally, AWS, which, guys, when was the last time we saw that AWS was the slowest grower out of all three of these? But sure enough, that's what happened here, it was up 28 percent. Still very positive. Its operating income was up even more, which shows that they have leverage. AWS still produces the lion's share of the operating income.

The one obvious big piece of news about the company is that Jeff Bezos is stepping away as CEO of the company. It should be a relatively smooth transition. If there's one thing that I'm really looking for, you might be surprised by this, but I love his letter to shareholders. I think they're great. I think they really highlight how this company takes an antifragile approach to building out potential products. I'm really curious to see if those letters continue and what I might be able to glean from them. That's Amazon. Still a big holding for me.

Brian Feroldi: Do you think Bezos stepping away is going to impact the organization at all on an operation basis?

Stoffel: On an operational basis, no. On a testing new ideas for the future, potentially, and that's what I'm looking for, but operations, no. I don't really believe that he probably was that important to the operations part of the business that much as it is. Jeff, if you're listening, I'm sorry for saying that. [laughs]

Feroldi: He's definitely listening.

Stoffel: Yeah.

Brian Withers: Yeah. I love the pick of the new CEO, Andrew Jassy, that's running the AWS business. Early on, one of the things that was pretty amazing with Amazon was just their investment in tech and their investment in software behind the scenes and the e-commerce stuff. Jeff Bezos knew the power of having an incredible platform that was able to do all the things that customers needed to do and get the information to the right place. I'm not surprised by this new CEO pick and I'm actually pretty excited about it.

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