Monday marks Jeff Bezos’ final day as the CEO of Amazon, the company he launched in 1994 as an online bookseller that is now an ecommerce behemoth worth $1.7 trillion — the company that has made him the richest person in the world with a nearly $200 billion fortune.
In 2004, Jeff Bezos and his technical adviser Colin Bryar drove together to the city of Tacoma, an hour south of Seattle in Washington State.
At that time Amazon was a multi-billion dollar company. However they were headed to Amazon's customer services centre - where they were to spend two days as customer service agents.
"Jeff was actually taking the calls himself"
The company announced in February that Bezos would transition from CEO to executive chair, saying he wanted to spend more time on his other ventures, including the Washington Post, space company Blue Origin and philanthropy.
But even as he steps back into a less public role at the company, Bezos will still have tremendous influence at Amazon (AMZN) for years to come, by virtue of being its largest individual shareholder, a longtime mentor to the incoming CEO and his role heading the board.
"He'll likely still stay involved, though no longer focusing on the day-to-day and instead able to focus on company-wide initiatives and new products and services,"
After Bezos steps down as CEO on July 5, he will become executive chair of Amazon's board and Andy Jassy will take over the top role.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), the astoundingly successful cloud computing service, on the face of it didn't have much to do with Amazon's core business: e-commerce.
Amazon has hired more and more workers over time. The company had a large hiring surge from 2019 to 2020, adding 500,000 workers for a total of 1,298,000 in 2020.
The company is still looking to hire more workers amid the pandemic. In May, the company announced it is planning to hire 75,000 new employees in the US and Canada for its fulfillment and transportation network which would include an average starting wage of $17 and signing bonuses of up to $1,000.
Bezos has always approached business with the long game in mind. People close to him often use the word "methodical" to describe the customer obsession over short-term profits.
If there's a clear model for what Bezos' role change might look like at Amazon, it could be the other Seattle-based tech founder who previously held the title of world's richest man.
When Bill Gates stepped down as CEO in 2020, Microsoft was one of the world's most powerful companies, but it was also in the midst of a years-long antitrust battle and facing the possibility of being broken up by the US government. At the time, Gates was seen as a ruthless monopolist, but his focus on philanthropy in the following years helped him cultivate a different reputation as a global do-gooder, all while he maintained a leadership role at Microsoft (MSFT) for two decades — until last year.
Jeff Bezos has proved an extremely bright and able leader - someone who has changed the way companies around the world operate.