"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", he wrote. "I'm super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have", he added.
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. He presides over a collection of properties that spans not only Amazon but The Washington Post, several philanthropies and a space company, Blue Origin LLC, that lags far behind its chief rival, Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
But he will hand over the CEO reins to Andy Jassy, the head of Amazon's cash cow cloud computing division.
Jassy, Bezos' replacement, is a longtime Amazon executive, having worked at the company since 1997.
"Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition", he said. That shows how solid Amazon is - Bezos has been in the captain's chair since '94.
The company is based in Seattle, Washington, and is developing a second headquarters outside the US capital.
Amazon initially rose after-hours as the market digested both the company's earnings and its CEO news.
Netizens are applauding Bezos deciding to step down when he's still "ahead in the game" - referring to Amazon's global success as well as Bezos' net worth of $185.7 billion that makes him one of the world's richest individuals.
That's a lot of qualifiers, but the bottom line is that Amazon is continuing to capitalize on its position as the leader in public cloud computing.
In the letter to his 1.3 million employees worldwide, Bezos reiterated the importance of "invention".
While Scott drove, Bezos wrote up the business plan for what would become Amazon.com.
He told a congressional hearing previous year that Amazon accounts for less than 4% of retail spending in the United States and has a "range of retail competitors". Other shares highlighted on WallStreetBets are also on the back foot.
"Looking ahead, we maintain our view that Amazon will emerge from the pandemic as a bigger and stronger business", Saunders said.
"Jeff Bezos has held a firm grip on the company for a long time, " said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics LLC, a retail research firm.