Being a rich man is one of the best thing that can ever happen to any man, but being the richest man in the world is an experience only a few can relate to.
And among those few is Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world. Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen, the American entrepreneur who played a key role in the growth of e-commerce as the founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com, Inc., an online merchant of books and later of a wide variety of products.
Under his guidance, Amazon became the largest retailer on the World Wide Web and the model for Internet sales was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico on January 12, 1964, the son of Jacklyn and Theodore Jorgensen. At the time of his birth, his mother was a 17-year-old high school student and his father was 19.
After completing high school despite challenging conditions, Jacklyn attended night school while bringing baby Jeff along. After his parents divorced, his mother married Cuban immigrant Miguel “Mike” Bezos in April 1968.
Shortly after the wedding, Mike adopted four-year-old Jorgensen, whose surname they then changed to Bezos.
Bezos attended River Oaks Elementary School in Houston from fourth to sixth grade.
Bezos displayed scientific interests and technological proficiency early in life. The family later moved to Miami, Florida, where Bezos attended Miami Palmetto High School. While Bezos was in high school, he worked at McDonald’s as a short-order line cook during the breakfast shift.
In his graduation speech, Bezos told the audience he dreamed of the day when humankind would colonize space. A local newspaper quoted his intention “to get all people off the earth and see it turned into a huge national park”. In 1986, he graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a 4.2 GPA and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree (B.S.E.) in electrical engineering and computer science.
After Bezos graduated from Princeton University in 1986, he worked at Fitel, a fintech telecommunications start-up, where he was tasked with building a network for international trade. Bezos was promoted to head of development and director of customer service thereafter.
He transitioned into the banking industry when he became a product manager at Bankers Trust. He worked there from 1988 to 1990. He then joined D. E. Shaw & Co, a newly founded hedge fund with a strong emphasis on mathematical modelling in 1990 and worked there until 1994. Bezos became D. E. Shaw’s fourth senior vice-president at 30.
In late 1993, Bezos established an online bookstore. He left his job at D. E. Shaw and founded Amazon in his garage on July 5, 1994, after writing its business plan on a cross-country drive from New York City to Seattle Prior to settling on Seattle, Bezos had investigated setting up his company at an Indian reservation near San Francisco in order to avoid paying taxes.
Bezos initially named his new company Cadabra but later changed the name to Amazon after the Amazon River in South America, in part because the name begins with the letter A, which is at the beginning of the alphabet. He accepted an estimated $300,000 from his parents and invested in Amazon.
In 1998, Bezos diversified into the online sale of music and video, and by the end of the year he had expanded the company’s products to include a variety of other consumer goods. Bezos used the $54 million raised during the company’s 1997 equity, offering to finance aggressive acquisition of smaller competitors.
In 2000, Bezos borrowed $2 billion from banks, as its cash balances dipped to only $350 million In 2002, Bezos led Amazon to launch Amazon Web Services, which compiled data from weather channels and website traffic. In late 2002, rapid spending from Amazon caused it financial distress when revenues stagnated.
After the company nearly went bankrupt, he closed distribution centers and laid off 14% of the Amazon workforce. In 2003, Amazon rebounded from financial instability and turned a profit of $400 million. In November 2007, Bezos launched the Amazon Kindle. According to a 2008 Time profile, Bezos wished to create a device that allowed a “ flow state” in reading similar to the experience of video games.
In 2013, Bezos secured a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on behalf of Amazon Web Services. In October of that year, Amazon was recognized as the largest online shopping retailer in the world.
His wealth surpassed $100 billion for the first time on November 24, 2017, and Forbes formally designated him the richest man in the world on March 6, 2018, with a net worth of $112 billion.
In February 2021, Bezos announced that in the third quarter of 2021 he would step down from his role as CEO of Amazon, to become the Executive Chair of the Amazon Board.
Andy Jassy will replace him as CEO. On February 2, 2021, Bezos emailed all Amazon employees, telling them the transition would give him the time and energy he need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin which he founded In September 2000, a human spaceflight startup that represents Bezos lifelong interest in space travel and the development of human life in the solar system. The Washington Post, and his other passions.
The world richest man, In January 2018, made a $33 million donation to The Dream.US, a college scholarship fund for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as minors.
In June 2018, Bezos donated to Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a private philanthropic fund founded by Bill Gates aimed at promoting emissions-free energy. In September 2018, Bezos donated $10 million to With Honor, a nonpartisan organization that works to increase the number of veterans in political office.
In February 2020, Bezos pledged $10 billion to combat climate change through the Bezos Earth Fund.
Later that year, in November, Bezos announced $791M of donations to established, well-known groups, with $100M each going to Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund, and the rest going to 11 other groups.
In April 2020, early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Bezos donated $100 million to food banks through Feeding America among many other philanthropic works.
- In September 2016, Bezos received a $250,000 prize for winning the Heinlein Prize for Advances in Space Commercialization, which he donated to the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.
- In February 2018, they elected Bezos, the richest man in modern world to the National Academy of Engineering for “leadership and innovation in space exploration, autonomous systems, and building a commercial pathway for human space flight”
- 2014–2018, Harvard Business Review ranked him the best-performing CEO in the world.
- He has also figured in Fortune‘s list of 50 influential leaders of the world for three straight years, topping the list in 2015.
- In March 2018, at the Explorers Club annual dinner, they awarded him the Buzz Aldrin Space Exploration Award in recognition of his work with Blue Origin.
- In 1999, Bezos received his first major award when Time named him Person of the Year.
- In 2008, he was selected by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s best leaders.
- Bezos was awarded an honorary doctorate in science and technology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008
- In 2011, The Economist gave Bezos and Gregg Zehr an Innovation Award for the Amazon Kindle.
- In 2012, Fortune named Bezos Businessperson of the Year.
- He is also a member of the Bilderberg Group and attended the 2011 Bilderberg conference in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and the 2013 conference in Watford, Hertfordshire, England. He was a member of the Executive Committee of The Business Council for 2011 and 2012.
- He received Germany’s 2018 Axel Springer Award for Business Innovation and Social Responsibility. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world on five separate occasions between 2008 and 2018.
In 1992, Bezos was working for D. E. Shaw in Manhattan when he met novelist MacKenzie Tuttle, who was a research associate at the firm; the couple married a year later. In 1994, they moved across the country to Seattle, Washington, where Bezos founded Amazon.
On January 9, 2019, Bezos and MacKenzie announced on Twitter their intent to divorce after a “long period” of separation. On April 4, 2019, they completed the divorce, with Bezos keeping 75% of the couple’s Amazon stock and MacKenzie getting the remaining 25% ($35.6 billion) in Amazon stock. However, Bezos would keep all the couple’s voting rights.
Bezos and his now ex-wife MacKenzie are the parents of four children: three sons, and one daughter adopted from China.