Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Will Step Down Today: What Is The Retirement Plan Of World's Richest Man?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Will Step Down Today: What Is The Retirement Plan Of World's Richest Man?Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (David McNew/Getty Images)
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  • Jeff Bezos will step down as the CEO of Amazon, today. Earlier, Bezos said that he would be flying to space on the first crewed flight of the Blue Origin's first rocket ship, the New Shepard.

Jeff Bezos, the man behind the world's one of the most successful companies—Amazon—had announced that he would be stepping down as the CEO of the retail giant. On 5 July, Bezos will officially leave the top position in the American tech behemoth, and Andy Jassy, who has been serving as the chief of Amazon web services, will become the next CEO.

When he made the announcement, it signalled a significant shift in the market landscape, as well as the end of an era for the business mogul. Amazon began as an online bookstore in a garage 27 years ago, when Bezos packaged orders himself and transported them to post offices. He is now the world's richest person. Even after a divorce deal with ex-wife MacKenzie Scott, in which he granted her a portion of his interest, Bezos' net worth is close to $200 billion. Since the launch of Amazon, he gradually and consistently grew the company's business range in areas such as e-commerce, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and digital streaming, among many others. Now, after decades, Amazon has a market value of nearly $1.7 trillion, making it the most valuable brand in the world.

According to Forbes, in August 2020, Bezos' net worth rose by $4.9 billion, making him the world's first-ever person to get a $200 billion fortune. According to reports, the majority of Bezos' fortune – 90 per cent – is invested in Amazon. The majority of his time is spent on extracurricular pursuits, such as his other company, Blue Origin. However, it was also found that Bezos pays a lesser amount of income tax. In 2007, when Bezos was already a billionaire, he paid no federal taxes. He also failed to pay federal taxes in 2011 and earned a $4,000 tax credit for his children—it was a time when his net worth was $18 billion. However, although the billionaire is stepping down today as Amazon's CEO, as the company's executive chair, Bezos will continue to play an important role. He will not be involved in day-to-day operations and will devote more attention to other ventures, including his aerospace firm Blue Origin.

The Retirement Plan

Bezos said earlier that he would be flying to space on the first crewed flight of the Blue Origin's first rocket ship, the New Shepard. The West Texas launch is slated for 20 July—which is the date of the fifty-second anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing—just 15 days after he is set to step down as Amazon's CEO. The billionaire said: "Ever since I was five years old, I've dreamed of travelling to space. On 20 July, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend". Apart from his sibling Mark Bezos, an 82-year-old woman, who spent six decades trying to reach space, will also accompany the Amazon founder. Funk, who was one of the 13 women who passed NASA's astronaut training program in the 1960s, will become the oldest person to ever fly to space. However, the crew also includes a mystery person who supposedly paid $28 million at auction for a seat.

It was expected that if everything goes according to the plan, Bezos will become the first of the billionaire space tycoons to ride in the rocket technology—in which Bezos invested millions. But Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson is aiming to beat him as the British business magnate announced his trip to space ahead of Bezos' flight. Earlier this month, Branson revealed that its next test flight will take place on 11 July—more than a week before Bezos plans to complete his own spaceflight—and that one of the six persons on board will be Branson himself. The English business mogul's unexpected decision to arrange his own journey aboard in a Virgin Galactic spacecraft just nine days before Bezos' flight has been interpreted as a bid to outdo his rival space-bound billionaire. But Branson has downplayed the competitive angle of the space race, saying that "I think both of us will wish each other well, and it really doesn't matter whether one of us goes a few days before the other".

Meanwhile, more than 50,000 people have signed online petitions urging Bezos to stay in space following his journey. As reported, soon after the announcement about space flight, two petitions appeared on Change.org. More than 40,000 individuals have signed one of them, headlined "Do not allow Jeff Bezos to return to Earth". The petition claims: "Billionaires should not exist… on Earth, or in space, but should they decide the latter they should stay there (sic)". The other petition received more than 20,000 signatures and stated that "… he's actually an evil overlord hellbent on global domination. We've known this for years. Jeff has worked with the Epsteins and the Knights Templar, as well as the Free Masons to gain control over the whole world. He's also in bed with the flat earth deniers; it's the only way they'll allow him to leave the atmosphere".

Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000. He announced in 2017 that he was selling $1 billion worth of Amazon stock each year to fund the private space enterprise. Developing space technologies, according to Bezos, is essential for this planet and important for the dynamism of future generations. Bezos even imagined a future in which humans leave Earth to dwell in colonies of space pods in his high school graduation speech. However, like Virgin Galactic, Bezos' space company also intends to carry travellers to the edge of space, around 80 to 100 kilometres above the Earth, where they will experience a few minutes of weightlessness. On the other hand, the top rival in this category Elon Musk's SpaceX, already announced that it would launch an all-civilian crew into space in September this year.

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