After nearly three decades at the helm of Amazon, staunch critic of former President Donald Trump and online retail and media mogul Jeff Bezos stepped down as the company’s CEO as of Monday to become its executive chairman, as Fox Business reports.
Regardless of the change in title, Bezos remains Amazon’s most sizable shareholder, retaining a stake worth roughly $180 billion. As such, he will continue to be a major influence within the e-commerce and cloud computing giant he founded back in 1995.
As was announced earlier this year, when Bezos first announced his future plans, longtime Amazon Web Services chief executive Andy Jassy has taken the reins, leaving the company’s founder to focus on a range of other pursuits, including philanthropic endeavors and space exploration that will entail his own flight to the edge of space on a company-built rocket later this month, according to NPR.
“Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility and its consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else,” Bezos wrote back in February. “As Exec Chair I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, the Washington Post, and my other passions,” he added.
As Fox Business separately noted, Bezos and Trump have a long and bitter history of rather public feuding, typified by the former attempting to blame the then-president for Amazon Web Services’ failure to win a highly lucrative government contract back in 2019, though that is neither where their rancor started nor ended.
During his time in the Oval Office, Trump regularly slammed Amazon for, as he put it, “doing great damage to tax paying retailers,” and adding that “Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost!” He also accused Amazon of using the U.S. Postal Service “as their delivery boy,” as Politico noted back in 2019.
Amid his presidential campaign in 2015, Trump suggested that Amazon was engaged in deliberate actions to avoid paying taxes, pointing to Bezos’ ownership of the left-leaning Washington Post as a means to do so, also arguing that he used the paper to generate biased reporting against his administration, Politico added.
The tension between the two men even veered into the personal realm back in 2019 when Bezos announced his imminent – and ultimately very costly – divorce from wife of 25 years, MacKenzie, with Trump sarcastically declaring, “Well, I wish him luck. I wish him luck. It’s going to be a beauty.”
Considering that Bezos clearly plans to remain very involved in a number of high-profile endeavors going forward, and Trump continues to tease a possible run for the White House in 2024, it seems likely that these two will have ample opportunities to publicly butt heads in the years to come.