Jeff Bezos wealth exceeds $171 billion during pandemic
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is to step down as Chief Executive Officer of the technology company that he started in his garage nearly three decades ago. He will become executive chairman, a move he said would give him “time and energy” to focus on other ventures. The world’s richest man will be replaced by Andy Jassy in the second half of 2021, who currently leads Amazon’s cloud computing business.
Mr Jassy helped found Amazon Web Services (AWS) after its inception in 2003 and he revealed how Mr Bezos took him under his wing almost immediately by offering to make him his technical assistant.
He said during CNBC’s Fortt Knox Podcast: “In retrospect, it was a complete score, it was unlike any opportunity I’ve had before.
“There is no question it was a huge part of my professional development.
“But at the time, when it was offered to me, I said no.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos revealed plans to step down
Mr Bezos made his announcement last night
“It was a very undefined role and when I talked to Jeff about it, he said the goal was for him to get to know me better and for me to get to know him better – to build some trust.
“I said it was interesting, but didn’t sound like a mission – he was incredibly gracious about letting me craft and shape a role with him.”
But Mr Jassy went on to detail how he eventually took up the job offer from Mr Bezos after the two worked out a solution.
He added: “We made it like a Chief of Staff role, the idea was to take someone you believe knows the company well and see how you can help develop that person.
“Let them watch and ask questions, hopefully, they help in keeping things up and providing ideas, but you’re really grooming a future leader of the company.
Mr Jassy will take over as CEO in the second half of 2021
“That was the kernel of the idea, a couple of people had done the role like it before me, which was part of the reason why I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it.
“It was really undefined, and it felt like a holding pen until we figured out what their full-time role would be.
“Once we were able to define the role to be more of a Chief of Staff role, that was an unbelievable opportunity.”
Mr Jassy detailed why he thought Mr Bezos had selected him for the position.
He said: “I think he realised I was really passionate about the company and passionate about customers, that I was low ego.
“You have to be in that role, you own nothing, you’re never in the spotlight, your job is to help the manager you are working for, be prepared and be more effective across the organisation.
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My Jassy featured in an interview with CNBC
“You have to do a lot of things behind the scenes to help people be more effective and productive and in their meetings with Jeff and to let Jeff be more productive in his meetings with those people.”
And the 53-year-old explained why the role was a shock to the system, detailing the qualities he learned Mr Bezos possessed
He said: “I learned a lot about Jeff, he’s an amazing individual.
“I mean you know some of the things you learn are probably straightforward, he’s really smart, unbelievably creative and innovative, he has incredibly high standards.
“I thought when I started at Amazon that I had high standards, but I realised that my standards weren’t high enough. He just has incredibly high standards.
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“Jeff’s good at drawing the line, asking for bigger things, but those things are still viable.”
Mr Bezos has led Amazon since it started as an online bookshop in 1994.
The firm now employs 1.3 million people globally, sending package deliveries and streaming video to cloud services and advertising.
According to Forbes, Mr Bezos is now worth $196.2billion (£143billion), making him the world’s richest man.
Elon Musk knocked him off the top spot several times this year but has fallen back again.
Amazon saw impressive growth in 2020 as the pandemic saw the public use more of its services