A BILLIONAIRE tycoon who indirectly runs two large warehouses in the North East has today handed over the reins, according to reports. 

The BBC and Sky have reported that the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos officially stepped down as the company's chief executive on Monday, July 5.

The retailer, which has two enormous 'Fulfilment Centres' in Durham and Darlington, is expected to open its North East third site in Gateshead, later this year.

Read more: Amazon confirms warehouse at Follingsby Max in Gateshead - with 1,000 jobs expected

Bezos has reportedly stepped down with the top role being handed over to Andy Jassy, in what he has described is a move to focus on "new products and early initiatives."

It comes as the Bloomberg Billionaires Index now places Bezos with a total net worth of around $203bn - equivalent to £146bn in the UK.

The Northern Echo: Amazon in Durham Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTAmazon in Durham Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

But although he is giving up the top role, Bezos will remain in the business becoming executive chair and overseeing the company's up and coming products.

In the North East, Bezos' firm has invested some of its latest tech at its sites in Durham, Darlington and at the soon to open warehouse in Gateshead. 

Brian Olsavsky, Amazon's chief financial officer, explained what the stepping down of his role actually meant as he hinted Bezos would still remain heavily influential.

He told reporters: "Jeff is not really going anywhere. It's more of a restructuring of who's doing what."

The move was first reported last February when Bezos officially broke the news to staff, saying he would focus on other areas of his emporium.

In a letter to staff at the time, Bezos said: "Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it's consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it's hard to put attention on anything else.

"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."

"I've never had more energy, and this isn't about retiring. I'm super passionate about the impact I think these organisations can have."

Bezos' departure as Chief Executive will be unlikely to have any major impact on Amazon in the North East.

In fact, Bezos' announcement back in February 2021 came long before the retailer had even opened its first warehouse in the region.

Last month Lorna Sharples, the site leader of Amazon Durham, told The Northern Echo that the region continued to have skilled workforce as she was asked why so many sites have been built in less than 24 months.

Read more: I did a shift working with Amazon's robots in Durham - and this is what it was like

Ms Sharples said: "It's a number of things – the greater the coverage we have across the UK, the better ability we have to meet their expectations in terms of speed and range of products.

"In the North East, it's being able to offer and create jobs for the local area where we have that skilled workforce and have people that can come and join the team here."

Amazon in Gateshead is expected to open in September this year, with more than 1,000 full and part time jobs created. 

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