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Jeff Bezos Walks Through a One-Way Door, Opening a New Age for Amazon

The CEO’s surprise resignation feels somehow natural and even inevitable.

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Why Is Jeff Bezos Stepping Down as CEO?
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Jeff Bezos has a formulation about one-way doors and two-way doors—decisions that are irreversible and permanent and those that can always be unwound. Stepping through what’s almost certainly a one-way door on Tuesday, Bezos said he will resign as chief executive officer of Amazon.com Inc. and become executive chairman later this year. He will hand day-to-day control to Andy Jassy, his longtime head of Amazon Web Services, a swiftly growing division that has almost single-handedly changed the way companies buy the technology that powers their businesses.

With that comes at least a partial end to one of the most epic runs in modern business history. Yet, Bezos’s move feels, in many ways, natural and even inevitable. Over the last 25 years, the Amazon founder, now 57, led the company through perhaps the most fertile period of any American business ever. Amazon was first just an idea at the Wall Street hedge fund D. E. Shaw & Co., where Bezos was a vice president; then it was an online bookseller and high-flying dot-com stock during the late 1990s. Bezos then rescued the company from the internet bust by formulating and guiding new inventions like the Kindle, Amazon Prime and AWS. Over the last decade, he has piloted Amazon to a $1.7 trillion market capitalization, where it currently occupies the same rarefied trillion-dollar air as Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc.