Amazon's Jeff Bezos unveils his space company Blue Origin's space exploration lunar lander rocket called Blue Moon on May 9, 2019 (REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne)
Jeff Bezos, 57, is set to step down from his role at Amazon Inc., the e-commerce behemoth he helped propel towards meteoric rise, on July 5. Amazon Web Services (AWS) head Andy Jassy is set to fill in Bezos’ shoes while he turns to other areas of interest.
However, few employees really believe Bezos will relinquish control in the “big decisions” – especially since he is still the largest shareholder and will also be executive chairman of the $1.7 trillion company’s board, the Guardian noted.
So, what’s in the future for the world’s richest man?
As the world’s richest person with a networth of a whopping $199 billion, Bezos has plenty of possible paths post Amazon. He however told his 1.3 million employees that taking up a different role in the company “is not about retiring” and that he has “never had more energy”, the Guardian reported.
“I intend to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives … I am super passionate about the impact I think these organisations can have,” he added.
He has indeed demonstrated this, a post on Bezos Instagram shows him behind the wheel of an electric-powered pick-up truck built by Amazon-backed startup Rivian.
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He also echoed shifting his focus to new ventures in a letter to investors in April, Reuters reported, whom he assured Amazon would be made “a better place to work”. That remark came close on the heels of Alabama employees’ failed unionisation efforts.
Age of Space – Blue Origin
A passion project, Bezos has shown increasing involvement in his space company ‘Blue Origin’.
Blue Origin was born from a younger Bezos’ dream to “build space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for 2-3 million people in orbit … to preserve Earth, evacuate humans and make the planet a park.” He had shared this dream with the Miami Herald during an interview in 1982.
This dream is on its way. Bezos, his brother Mark and others will board the company’s first flight space capsule New Shepard on July 20.
Bezos recently also took to Instagram, where he said he dreamt of travelling to space since five years of age. “I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend,” he added.
Media Mogul – The Washington Post
Bezos bought the Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million and is credited for ushering the newspaper into the digital age amid growing concern it wouldn’t survive. In fact, after the acquisition the Post (as it is fondly known), was prominent on Amazon’s Kindle devices – boosting its reach and audience.
Bezos is expected to continue devoting more time to the media business.
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Life is a Movie – Amazon Studios
Among Bezos’ Instagram posts is a photo with former WWF wrestler and now Hollywood actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, captioned: “time to bust out the tequila”. The post came soon after the two announced a movie deal for Amazon Studios.
His social media is littered with posts about the Oscars (the Academy Awards) and Golden Globe wins for Amazon Studios. He has also spoken in interviews about “re-imagining screen heroes” through Amazon’s acquisition of the iconic MGM studios.
For Amazon’s streaming fare, Bezos is also known for famously “saving” the much-loved sci-fi show called ‘The Expanse’ after the Syfy channel cancelled it, as per a GeekWire report.
In interviews, Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke told the story of how fans of the show sent Bezos multiple letters and social media pleas to push Amazon Studios’ streaming platform to pick up the show – these fans also included A Song of Ice and Fire author George RR Martin and Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist.
Salke said Bezos was a fan of the show and “it was fun to be able to support that not just for him but for all the people that really love that show.”
Philanthropy and Climate Change – Funds
Bezos is known for having eschewed Warren Buffet and Bill Gates’ ‘the Giving Pledge’ an initiative that encourages the world’s richest to commit at least half their wealth to charity.
He has instead shown interest – albeit small – in climate change and environment concerns and created a $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund to support activists, charities and scientists working on the climate crisis.
“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. I want to work alongside others to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact,” he said.
The Fund will support “any efforts that offers real possibility to help preserve the natural world”, he added. “Earth is the one thing we all have in common – let’s protect it, together.”
He also donated $2 billion (a mere 1 percent of his wealth) in 2018 to the Bezos Day One Fund, which helps address homelessness and improve education for children in low-income families.
Here's a look at all the key businesses held by Bezos
Key businesses owned by Jeff Bezos (Image: News18 Creatives)
Amazon was founded as an online bookstore in 1994 in Bezos’ garage in Seattle, Washington. It is now among the largest companies in the world and its founder the world’s richest man. It is also highly diversified into delivery, entertainment, groceries, streaming content and more.