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Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon CEO

The multi-billionaire and founder of one of the most valuable companies to date, Jeff Bezos has officially stepped down from his position of CEO, on the 27th anniversary of when the company was founded. Although he is not leaving the company completely, as he will instead be holding the role of executive chair, an advisor on strategy for the new CEO, Andy Jassy. This transition type isn’t unfamiliar with big companies and has happened previously, such as when Eric Schmidt left Google, and Bill Gates left Microsoft. It has come to be known as the apprenticeship model of corporate succession.

"Jeff is not really going anywhere. It's more of a restructuring of who's doing what." Amazon's chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky told reporters.

Andy Jassy has been with the company since 1997, leading its cloud computing platform Amazon Web Services since 2003. Jassy had been fresh out of Harvard when he got taken under the wing of Jeff, who instantly noticed he had a competitive and like-minded spirit. With experience of working for Amazon for a long time and having Bezos at his right-hand side, he is more than a suitable successor. Andy is more outspoken about divisive topics on his platforms, which Bezos tends to stay away from, such as last year he posted a tweet about the death of Breonna Taylor- "We still don't get it in the US. If you don't hold police depts accountable for murdering black people, we will never have justice and change, or be the country we aspire (and claim) to be." He has also shown his support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Although stepping down from what is probably his most time-consuming role, Bezos is planning to devote more time, and more than likely- money, to his personal projects. Climate change is one of the top priorities on his list to tackle, and last year announced his “Bezos Earth Fund”, putting in $10 billion to go to scientists, charities and activists to work towards the cause. The Washington Post was the newspaper company that he bought out in 2013 and brought the newspaper into the ‘digital age’ and gave it a slot on the Amazon Kindle and other devices. He will be putting in more to help the WP form new ways to integrate the paper and news into this modern day. And perhaps the most exciting of them all, Blue Origin.

Jeff didn’t ever want to be an astronaut, but rather wanted to be able to colonize space. Interested in making space travel more affordable, and one day hoping to have a system around space for future generations to use as if it’s just another part of the world, he is soon going up into the edge of space on a private spaceflight. It is scheduled for the 20th July this year, and will be accompanied by his Brother- Mark, a mystery person who bought a seat in an auction for $28 million, and Mary Wallance “wally” Funk- a female pilot who was refused becoming an astronaut in the 1960s because of her sex. Jeff’s company Blue Origin is going up against Elon Musk’s SpaceX in a race for who can get space commercialised first.

Bezos has been on the end of a controversy after it was seen that he was consistently gaining profits whilst he workers in the Amazon warehouses were working in awful conditions and living on food stamps. Especially since the pandemic drove sales through the roof as people were sat at home ordering products mindlessly, yet this meant even worse conditions and more work for the employees. Shares went blasting upwards, and Jeff’s personal net worth had shot up by $75 billion in 2020. Bezos is part-retiring from the role with around $200 billion according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire’s Index, at the age of 57. Last year he received a salary of around $81,000 and $1.6 million in other compensation from Amazon. The amount he is retiring with is 739,489 times the median net worth of an American at the standard retirement age of 65, information from the US Census Bureau shows.

Hopefully Mr Bezos will help drastically with climate change and put his wealth to good use. This won’t be the last time we hear about him, but for now it’s almost like the end of an Era, and Andy Jassy will be starting the next one.

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