Bezos founded Amazon in his garage in 1994 as an online bookseller, but grew it to become an e-commerce giant with warehouses spread across the country. He plans to leave the CEO position in the third quarter of this year and stay on as executive chair.
“If you do it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. People yawn. That yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive,” Bezos said in a statement. “Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition.”
Bezos — the second richest person in the world with a net worth of about $184 billion — wrote in a memo to staff that stepping down will give him time to focus on The Washington Post and his several philanthropic projects, NBC reported.
Amazon has become a dominant player in New York City’s real estate market, in particular, leasing up warehouse space all over the five boroughs and buying Lord & Taylor’s former Fifth Avenue flagship to open a 2,000-person office.
Amazon also sent shockwaves through the city and the state in 2018 when it announced Long Island City, Queens, as the location for part of its second headquarters. However, after pushback from locals and elected officials, Amazon ditched those plans and instead leased 335,000 square feet at 410 Tenth Avenue in 2019.