NEW YORK (REUTERS, AFP) – Amazon on Tuesday (Feb 2) said founder Jeff Bezos would step down as chief executive officer and become executive chairman, as the company reported its third consecutive record profit and quarterly sales above US$100 billion (S$133 billion) for the first time.
Mr Bezos, who started the company 27 years ago as an Internet bookseller, said in a note to employees posted on Amazon’s website, “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.”
In announcing the news, Bezos said he would remain engaged at Amazon but also devote time to his other businesses include The Washington Post newspaper and the private space firm Blue Origin.
He also will concentrate on his philanthropy efforts which include his Day One Fund and the Bezos Earth Fund, to which he made a US$10 billion donation last year.
The move by Mr Bezos comes after his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott had seized the spotlight in the philanthropic arena by pledging to give away the majority of her wealth to social causes, starting with nearly US$6 billion last year to a variety of organizations chosen with the help of advisors.
Mr Bezos has been in the headlines in recent years not only for his business success, but for his 2019 divorce from MacKenzie, his wife of 25 years, and a blackmail attempt which he decided to make public.
He stood up to the National Enquirer, controlled by then-president Donald Trump’s ally David Pecker, who threatened to release lurid, intimate pictures of Mr Bezos and his mistress, by making details of the exchanges public himself.
“If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?” Mr Bezos wrote on Medium.