Jeffrey Preston Bezos (Amazon CEO)
Jeffrey Preston Bezos (/ˈbeɪzoʊs/; né Jorgensen; born January 12, 1964) is an American technology and retail entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist, best known as the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Amazon, the world’s largest online shopping retailer.
Bezos was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and raised in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Princeton University in 1986 with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. He went on to work on Wall Street in a variety of related fields from 1986 to early 1994. He founded Amazon.com in late 1994. The company began as an Internet merchant of books and expanded to a wide variety of products and services, most recently video and audio streaming. It is currently the world’s largest Internet sales online company, as well as the world’s largest provider of cloud infrastructure services via its Amazon Web Services arm. Bezos also has a number of other business investments that are managed through Bezos Expeditions.
Bezos diversified his business interests when he founded aerospace company Blue Origin in 2000. He purchased The Washington Post newspaper in 2013 for $250 million in cash. Blue Origin started test flights to space in 2015 and plans for commercial suborbital human spaceflight beginning in 2018.
On July 27, 2017, he became the world’s wealthiest person when he accumulated an estimated net worth of just over $90 billion according to Forbes Magazine. His net worth surpassed $100 billion for the first time on November 24, 2017, after Amazon’s share price increased by more than 2.5%. As of March 3, 2018, he is worth $123.8 billion and is contended to be on track to become the wealthiest person in modern history
Bezos founded Amazon.com in 1994 after making a cross-country drive from New York to Seattle, writing up the Amazon business plan on the way. He initially set up the company in his garage. He had left his well-paying job at a New York City hedge fund after learning “about the rapid growth in Internet use,” which coincided with a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling that exempted mail order companies from collecting sales taxes in states where they lack a physical presence. Bezos’ parents invested $300,000 from their retirement savings into Amazon.
Bezos is known for his attention to business details. As described by Portfolio.com, he “is at once a happy-go-lucky mogul and a notorious micromanager an executive who wants to know about everything from contract minutiae to how he is quoted in all Amazon press releases.”
On Saturday, August 15, 2015, The New York Times published an article entitled “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace” about Amazon’s business practices.Bezos responded to his employees with a Sunday memo, rebutting the article’s inferences that the company was “a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard”, and that anyone who believed the story was true should contact him directly.
In May 2016, Bezos sold slightly more than one million shares of his holdings in the company for $671 million, making it the largest amount of money he had ever raised in a sale of his Amazon holdings. On August 4, 2016, he sold another million of his shares at a value of $756.7 million. As of June 19, 2016, Bezos owned 83.9 million shares of Amazon stock, being 16.9% of all shares outstanding, with a market value of $83.9 billion. On January 19, 2018, Amazon stock rose to $1300 per share, at which price those 83.9 million shares would be worth slightly over $109 billion, although Bezos has sold stock to raise cash for other enterprises since 2016, in particular Blue Origin.
Early life and education
Jeff Bezos was born on January 12, 1964, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to a teenage mother, Jacklyn Gise Jorgensen, and father Ted Jorgensen. Ted was born in Chicago. His maternal ancestors were settlers who lived in Texas and over the generations acquired a 25,000-acre (101 km2 or 39 miles2) ranch near Cotulla, Texas; as of March 2015, his family’s holdings were among the largest in the state. Bezos’s maternal grandfather was Lawrence Preston Gise, a regional director of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in Albuquerque. Gise retired early to the ranch, where Bezos spent many summers as a youth, working with him. Bezos’ maternal grandmother, was Mattie Louise Gise (née Strait), through whom Jeff Bezos is a cousin of country singer George Strait.
Bezos’ mother Jacklyn (born c. 1946) was seventeen years old and still in high school at the time of his birth. Her marriage to Ted Jorgensen lasted a little over a year. In April 1968 (when Jeff was 4), she married her second husband, Miguel “Mike” Bezos, a Cuban immigrant who arrived alone in the United States when he was fifteen years old. Mike Bezos had worked his way through the University of New Mexico. He married Jacklyn and adopted 4-year-old Jeff Jorgensen, whose surname was then changed to Bezos. After the wedding, the family moved to Houston, and Mike worked as an engineer for Exxon. Bezos attended River Oaks Elementary School in Houston from fourth to sixth grade.
Jeff Bezos often displayed scientific interests and technological proficiency; he once rigged an electric alarm to keep his younger siblings out of his room. The family moved to Miami, Florida, where he attended Miami Palmetto High School. While in high school, he attended the Student Science Training Program at the University of Florida, receiving a Silver Knight Award in 1982. He was high school valedictorian and a National Merit Scholar.
In 1986, Bezos graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University with Bachelor of Science degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. While at Princeton, he was elected to Tau Beta Pi and served as the president of the Princeton chapter of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space