Jeff Bezos Steps Down as Amazon CEO

Ariana Tackett, News Editor and Cartoonist

Jeff Bezos, cartoon by Ariana Tackett.

In an email to his employees on February 2, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced that, after 27 years, he will be stepping down from his position as CEO, and instead become Executive Chair of the Amazon Board. Andy Jassy, an Amazon employee since 1997, will succeed Bezos.

In the email, Bezos explained his role as CEO was a consuming responsibility. So, as Executive Chairman, he will be able to focus on his other projects, like Blue Origin and the Washington Post, as well as his philanthropic Day 1 Fund and Bezos Earth Fund.

Born in January, 1964 in New Mexico, Bezos graduated valedictorian from a Miami high school in 1982, and earned degrees in electronics and computer science from Princeton in 1986. He worked at a telecommunications start-up company right out of college, but then transitioned into the banking industry, working until 1994 when he founded Amazon.

Amazon was initially created as an online bookstore, but, in 1998, diversified the consumer goods it sold, and its reach has since expanded into cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and the realm of digital streaming.

The company started as a $300,000 investment, and is now valued at around $1.7 trillion.

As of February 2021, Bezos’ net worth is almost $193 billion, almost equal to Iraq’s entire economy. Such a sum could end world hunger with money to spare. He owns an 11.1 percent stake in Amazon, so although Bezos’s base salary is only $82,000, he earns about $300 million a day.

In a Woodson poll asking if students had at some point shopped on Amazon during 2020, a staggering 90 percent revealed they had. Senior Lydia Falardeau describes how her 2020 Amazon purchases were largely books,  but her usual purchases include more practical objects, like face masks and hand sanitizer.