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26 May, 2021 23:30

Bezos to relinquish role as Amazon CEO on July 5, turn more attention to space business & mammoth yacht

Bezos to relinquish role as Amazon CEO on July 5, turn more attention to space business & mammoth yacht

Jeff Bezos has announced that he will step down as Amazon's chief executive on July 5, freeing up time for his spaceship company, the Washington Post, philanthropic ventures and his nearly completed $500 million yacht.

Bezos, who ranks as the world's richest person with a fortune estimated by Forbes at more than $189 billion, told Amazon shareholders on Wednesday that he chose July 5 because it would mark the 27th anniversary of the online retailer's incorporation in 1994.

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Bezos, 57, plans to become executive chairman of Amazon's board and hand the CEO role to Andy Jassy, who currently heads the company's cloud computing business. Jassy joined Amazon, then a start-up online book seller, in 1997.

The Amazon founder will remain involved with the company. Bezos told employees in February, when the company announced that he would be stepping down as CEO later this year, that he will focus on new products and “early initiatives” in his new role.

But he also intends to have more time for his other ventures, including Blue Origin, which recently lost out to Elon Musk's Space-X for a $2.9 billion NASA contract to build a lunar landing craft. Blue Origin may have a second bite at the federal trough, though, after an amendment was introduced in Congress to add $10 billion in funding for NASA's long-awaited return to the Moon, including money for a second company to build a lunar lander. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) is trying to block the effort to bring Blue Origin into the project, calling it “the multi-billion-dollar Bezos bailout.”

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Bezos also is flush with cash after selling at least $5 billion worth of his Amazon shares earlier this month. He reportedly paid a record $165 million for a Beverly Hills mansion last year, shortly after buying two paintings at a Christie's auction for more than $70 million combined.

He managed to rebuild the world's largest fortune after splitting about $150 billion with his then-wife in a 2019 divorce.

The 13,600-square-foot mansion won't help Bezos' personal carbon footprint; nor will his new yacht. The 127-meter vessel will reportedly be the largest sailing yacht ever built in the Netherlands. It will require a motorized support yacht with a helipad, at least partly because its three masts are so massive that a helicopter can't land on its deck.

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