Jeff Bezos leaves an enduring legacy after converting Amazon from a tiny online retailer to one of the world’s most powerful businesses as he prepares to go into a new professional stage.
On Monday, Bezos, 57, will give over the reins of Amazon to Andy Jassy and focus on his private space exploration company, philanthropy, and other initiatives. However, he will continue to play a significant role as executive chair of the technological and e-commerce behemoth he established 27 years ago. The transition comes after a spectacular streak for Amazon, which has drawn attention for its innovations.
However, the company has been chastised for business methods that have harmed competitors and raised questions about the treatment of a staff of over a million people.
“In book selling, the retail market, cloud computing, and home delivery, Bezos has been a revolutionary leader,” said Darrell West, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation.
“He was a forerunner who pioneered many of the modern conveniences that we now take for granted, such as purchasing something from an internet store and having it delivered to your home the following day. Many of the developments in the e-commerce industry may be attributed to this guy.”
Bezos frequently remembers his early days at Amazon, which began in his garage with him packing orders and driving boxes to the post office.
Amazon is now worth more than $1.7 trillion on the stock market. It expects to earn $386 billion in 2020 through e-commerce, cloud computing, grocery, artificial intelligence, streaming media, and other businesses.
What next for Amazon?
With Amazon facing a barrage of regulatory scrutiny and activist opposition, Bezos’ exit raises doubts about the company’s future.
US senators are discussing a bill that would make it easier to split up Amazon, amid worries that a small number of Big Tech companies have become too powerful, stifling competition and harming consumers.
With its quick delivery of products and foodstuffs, Amazon was well-positioned during the coronavirus epidemic, and it increased its US workforce to over 800,000.
While the firm boasts about its $15 minimum pay and other benefits, opponents claim it treats employees like robots because of its persistent focus on efficiency and worker surveillance.
Amazon employees, according to the Teamsters union, “face demeaning, hazardous, and low-pay employment, with high turnover and little voice at work.”
After a grueling struggle over a unionization vote in Alabama, which eventually failed, Bezos appeared to respond to worker concerns earlier this year when he called for a “better vision” for employees.
In his farewell letter as CEO, he set a new aim for the firm to be “Earth’s finest employer and Earth’s safest place to work.”
However, Amazon is expected to confront obstacles in the future that will make maintaining its current trajectory difficult.
“The reaction against this industry will almost certainly result in more government supervision of technology firms,” West said.
According to Kay, Amazon may become a “victim of its own success” and be compelled to split into two or more companies.
“Each of those organizations would prosper in their own market,” he added, “and I can easily envision the sum of the parts being bigger than the whole, so it might not damage shareholders.”