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Jeff Bezos steps down as Amazon CEO

E-commerce giant's founder ends 27-year career to focus on commercial space flights

Jeff Bezos standing in front of his Blue Origin rocket

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has officially stepped down as the company's CEO after 27 years. 

Bezos, who built the e-commerce giant out of his garage in 1994, will still be involved in the company, taking a role as an executive chair, but his focus will be on other ventures.  

Amazon was originally a humble online marketplace for books but is sits among the likes of Apple, Google and Microsoft as one of the biggest and wealthiest companies in the world. With a focus on digital technology and a set of culture-defining rules, Bezos quickly expanded Amazon into the most valuable retailer in the US, venturing into electronics, grocery and eventually cloud computing with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

With AWS, the company has moved into many markets and regions, including streaming with its Amazon Prime platform. 

The company is also a big adopter of data analytics and automation, driven in part by its founder's love of engineering and invention. As such, Amazon warehouses are vast operations with lots of machinery, where its staff are often monitored for efficiency. 

While this area of the business depicts Bezos as a 'technologist', it is also used to question his company's workplace culture. A number of reports have plagued the firm with first-person stories of poor working conditions, low pay and even bullying. Earlier this year Amazon workers in Alabama attempted to form a union, with many feeling like the company didn't have their best interests in mind, but that was squashed by the company's board.

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In April, Bezos said in a letter to investors that he would focus on new initiatives to make Amazon a better place to work and suggested the company needed to develop new ways to "incentivise" workers. 

However, the multi-billionaire is also turning his "energies" to other ventures, such as his commercial space flight project, Blue Origin. The company plans on conducting its first flight on 20 July, with Bezos himself on board.

"Ever since I was five years old, I've dreamed of travelling to space," Bezos posted on his Instagram page. "On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend." 

Amazon will begin a new era under Andy Jassy, which is expected to mean a greater focus on cloud computing given his previous role as the CEO of AWS. 

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