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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stepping down is 'a loss for the company': top analyst

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·3 min read
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Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos acknowledged Thursday that his new annual letter to shareholders would be his last as CEO.

But that reiteration has done nothing to shake Wall Street's confidence in the e-commerce behemoth's future financials, although the leadership change is being very closely watched for potential stumbles.  

"Well, I think Bezos probably goes down as the best entrepreneur of this generation in a way like Steve Jobs was and Bills Gates was. We'll see about the next generation. It's a loss for the company," said veteran EvercoreISI tech analyst Mark Mahaney on Yahoo Finance Live.

Bezos stunned the business world in February by announcing he would transition to the executive chair role in the third quarter.

Taking his place will be long-time right hand man Andy Jassy, currently CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Jassy joined after Amazon’s IPO in 1997 and has built the AWS business up from the ground floor over nearly two decades.

Said Bezos in the new shareholder letter, "I want to especially thank Andy Jassy for agreeing to take on the CEO role. It’s a hard job with a lot of responsibility. Andy is brilliant and has the highest of high standards. I guarantee you that Andy won’t let the universe make us typical. He will muster the energy needed to keep alive in us what makes us special. That won’t be easy, but it is critical. I also predict it will be satisfying and oftentimes fun. Thank you, Andy."

**FILE PHOTO** Jeff Bezos To Step Down As Amazon CEO. WASHINGTON, D.C. DECEMBER 14: Jeff Bezos at the premiere of 'The Post' on December 14, 2017, in Washington, DC. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch /IPX
**FILE PHOTO** Jeff Bezos To Step Down As Amazon CEO. WASHINGTON, D.C. DECEMBER 14: Jeff Bezos at the premiere of 'The Post' on December 14, 2017, in Washington, DC. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch /IPX

Mahaney is staying hopeful on Amazon's future with Jassy at the helm. He has put Amazon on his best ideas list and assigned a $4,000 price target on the stock. 

"I would have said that kind of [leadership] transition isn't necessarily a good thing. The way they set it up is about the best as it could be done," Mahaney added.

Even with the the major leadership transition lurking, other Wall Street analysts have come out very bullish on Amazon in recent weeks. Their collective view: the business is too much of a leader, and valuation too compelling, to downgrade the stock simply because Bezos is handing the baton to Jassy. 

"While the company will be up against difficult top-line comparisons in coming quarters, we see a favorable backdrop for shares through the balance of 2021 as 1) top-line growth rates are likely to remain robust (in the 20% range, by our estimates), 2) AWS and cloud computing trends remain strong, and 3) profitability gains materialize as high-margin business segments scale further and as Amazon laps heavy investment made in 2020 (including COVID-related spend and fulfillment center expansion)," Guggenheim analyst Robert Drbul said in a note earlier this month.

Drbul also has a $4,000 price target on Amazon's stock. Meanwhile, Jefferies analyst Brent Thill recently made a case for a 70% surge in Amazon's stock

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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