Jeff Bezos retires as Amazon CEO to focus on space exploration firm

Photo: EPA An undated handout photo made available by Blue Origin shows Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos inspects New Shepard`s West Texas launch facility before the rocket`s maiden voyage, in West Texas, USA. (issued 07 June 2021).

Jeff Bezos, 57, will hand over the job of Amazon chief executive on Monday to Andy Jassy and turn his attention to his private space exploration firm, philanthropy and other endeavors. He will retain a key role, however, as executive chair at the technology and e-commerce colossus he founded 27 years ago, AFP reported.

The transition comes after a spectacular streak for Amazon, which has drawn attention for its innovations. But the firm has also been vilified over business practices that have crushed competitors and raised concerns over treatment of a workforce of more than one million.

"Bezos has been a transformational leader... in book selling, the retail market, cloud computing and home delivery," Darrell West, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Technology Innovation, said. "He pointed out that Bezos was “a pioneer who introduced many of the conveniences that people take for granted, such as going to an online store, ordering something, and having it delivered to your home the next day. The whole e-commerce sector owes many of its innovations to this individual."

In public appearances, Bezos often recounts the early days at Amazon, started in his garage, when he packed up orders himself and drove boxes to the post office.

Today, Amazon has a market value of more than $1.7 trillion. It posted 2020 annual revenues of $386 billion from operations in e-commerce, cloud computing, groceries, artificial intelligence, streaming media and more.

Bezos will step away from day-to-day Amazon management to spend more time on projects including his space firm Blue Origin, which is set to take him into space later this month. He owns the Washington Post newspaper and has devoted time and funds to efforts to fight climate change, while also facing criticism after recent reports that he paid no income tax at all some years.

Bezos departure leaves questions about the future of Amazon as it faces a torrent of regulatory scrutiny and criticism from activists. US lawmakers are considering a measure that would make it easier to break up Amazon, amid concerns that a handful of Big Tech firms have become too dominant, hurting competition in a way that eventually harms consumers.

Amazon was well-positioned during the coronavirus pandemic with its fast delivery of goods and groceries, and boosted its US workforce to more than 800,000.

While the company has boasted of its $15 minimum wage and other benefits, critics say its relentless focus on efficiency and worker surveillance has treated employees like machines.

The Teamsters union recently launched a campaign to organize Amazon employees, claiming its workers "face dehumanizing, unsafe and low-pay jobs, with high turnover and no voice at work.

Similar articles

  • Airbnb looses 80% of its business due to Covid-19

    Airbnb looses 80% of its business due to Covid-19

    The way people used to travel has been dramatically changed forever by the Covid-19 pandemic, the boss of lodging platform Airbnb said. Brian Chesky told the BBC the lines between business and leisure travel are waning because of remote working patterns. And he noted that people are opting for longer periods with family and friends as they seek more "human connection".

    25
  • Facebook stops the deal with Australian publishers

    Facebook stops the deal with Australian publishers

    The social media conglomerate Facebook announced it had told Australian publishers it had stopped talks over licensing deals. The move which comes just six months after the passing of legislation aimed to make tech giants pay for news content. While Facebook has announced agreements with most of the country's largest news outlets, some companies including TV broadcaster SBS and smaller publishers have been left out, Reuters elaborated.

    32
  • J&J booster jab raises effectiveness to 94%

    J&J booster jab raises effectiveness to 94%

    The pharmaceutical conglomerate Johnson and Johnson announced that a second shot of its Covid-19 vaccine given about two months after the first shot increased its effectiveness to 94% in the US against moderate to severe forms of the disease. That compares to only about 70% protection with a single dose, Reuters reported.

    35