Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon CEO: is it for love or for antitrust?

Amazon Novelty Event

In January 2019, Jeff Bezos announced his divorce from his wife Mackenzie. The high-profile split was hastily announced because the National Enquirer was simultaneously breaking the story of his then months-long affair with Lauren Sanchez (who was also married at the time). Lauren and Jeff divorced their spouses in short order, and spent the next year jet-setting around the world. It was an obvious mid-life crisis for him, and Lauren is the dictionary definition of “golddigging grifter.” She comes from a family of grifters too – her brother was the one who outed their affair to the Enquirer. Anyway, that was all Jeff Bezos’ big moment in the tabloids. As far as anyone knows, he’s spent the past year with Lauren, and he’s still screwing over his employees. Now his midlife crisis has taken another turn though: he’s giving up his CEO position at Amazon, the company he founded and built into this empire.

Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos will step aside as CEO of Amazon later this year, the e-commerce giant announced Tuesday, with Amazon Web Services chief Andy Jassy set to take over the top title. The company announced ahead of its latest quarterly earnings call that Bezos “will transition to the role of Executive Chair in the third quarter of 2021 and Andy Jassy will become Chief Executive Officer at that time.”

The announcement marks the biggest transition of power to date for the tech behemoth, which rose from humble beginnings as an online book selling platform to become one of the first trillion-dollar companies in history, with a sprawling footprint that includes e-commerce, cloud computing and brick-and-mortar retailers like Whole Foods.

“Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition,” Bezos said in a statement announcing the move.

In an email to employees, he added that he will spend more time focusing on other “passions,” including his space company Blue Origin and his ownership of The Washington Post, a role that made him the continual focus of broadsides from former President Donald Trump. “I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring,” he wrote.

Bezos has faced intense scrutiny in Washington during his time helming one of the world’s most powerful and profitable companies, as well as for long holding the title of world’s richest person — a title he recently ceded to Tesla founder Elon Musk. The Amazon mogul in recent years became a frequent target for politicians of both major parties, including former Trump and President Joe Biden, who have taken aim at his vast wealth and at the company’s business practices.

Democrats have assailed Amazon over its wages and treatment of its workers, an issue that has gained renewed attention as demand for online shopping has soared during the Covid-19 pandemic. Biden and other Democrats have also been critical of the company for not paying a larger tax share. Rival companies have accused it of leveling competitors across the economic landscape, as the rise of online commerce that Amazon helped pioneer has pummeled once-powerful retailers including Sears, Toys “R” Us, Borders and J.C. Penney.

Bezos defended the company’s business practices and approach to competition at a House antitrust subcommittee hearing in July, the tech mogul’s first congressional testimony ever and possibly last as Amazon CEO. House lawmakers had threatened to subpoena for his testimony after the company initially declined to explicitly commit to making him available, but he ultimately appeared voluntarily alongside the CEOs of Facebook, Apple and Google.

[From Politico]

Amazon should be investigated as a violation of existing antitrust laws. Elizabeth Warren needs take down Amazon, and I think the Biden administration will definitely make some moves too. But… is that why Bezos is stepping down? I don’t know. I think people are missing the fact that he torpedoed his marriage and began stepping away from his reclusive life, all for Lauren Sanchez. I wonder if she’s behind this move.

Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez stroll in St. Tropez

Lauren Sanchez and Jeff Bezos watch the Wimbledon Men's Singles Final on Centre Court.London, United Kingdom - Sunday July 14th, 2019.

Lauren Sanchez and Jeff Bezos watch the Wimbledon Men's Singles Final on Centre Court. London, United Kingdom - Sunday July 14th, 2019.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.

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39 Responses to “Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon CEO: is it for love or for antitrust?”

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  1. Levans says:

    My thoughts as well Kaiser! Why now? Usually CEOs and founders like Bezos aren’t the type to let go and kick back on the beach full-time, but are the type to always be working. He’s getting a bigger footprint in DC with the second headquarters, the house, and WaPo. A run for office Trump-style? A stint on the revamped Housewives of DC for Lauren?

    Interested to see if we do ever learn the “why”!

    • FHMom says:

      I’m interested in knowing why Bezos did this, also. I have a feeling that he has something up his sleeve. Unless he has plans to do something charitable, I will continue to dislike him. His ex, Mackenzie, is the best. She really outshines him.

      • Levans says:

        I agree! The way she is giving money to a variety of organizations without being overly stringent on how it’s spent is phenomenal! Kudos to McKenzie!

      • Mac says:

        Bezos will still be on the board and will be developing new lines of business. He got sucked back into the day to day during the pandemic and I think it distracted from his other interests, especially Blue Origin. What’s the point of being a billionaire if you can’t send a rocket to the space station?

      • SpankFD says:

        Mackenzie Scott is a good person. She stood by JB for decades ? and 4? kids. She certainly could have evolved to meet any challenges authentically set before her. Just look how much *ss MS kicks post-divorce.

        In contrast there is nothing authentic about LS. She’s a fraud — a sexually talented fraud — but a fraud nonetheless.

      • Christina says:

        Mackenzie Bezos is the best, and I’m no fan of Lauren Sanchez, but Sanchez is her own person with her own accomplishments. Saying otherwise is not right.

        Initially, I thought that the breakup was driven by Sanchez because the media stuff was wild, but couples fall out of love all the time. Our culture says to blame the “other woman.” We now know that Bezos didn’t want his marriage, and Mackenzie was classy and didn’t bother fighting for a man who didn’t love her. Lauren’s public life in TV news in Los Angeles, and her brother’s weird, money-driven betrayal stuff, and the wealth of Bezos, made a gossip story about the disintegration of a marriage entertainment for the public, of course, but I think that it is unfair to say that she is a fraud. Bad plastic surgery, sure! But that’s what men and women in front of the camera do to stay employed in TV. I’m a muggle, but, if I were on TV in LA, I might also be a weird looking married woman in a loveless marriage with lots of bad surgery who met a rich dude willing to wreak his marriage, too.

        I don’t know. So many marriages seem okay, and then they explode and we always blame the other woman/man rather than the person who took the vows and broke them.

    • Anony83 says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to follow the Bill Gates model and at least (on paper) claim he’s leaving to try to save the world. I don’t think that’s really why he’s leaving but I do think Gates and a few others set this precedent in Silicon Valley that once you’ve become hugely successful in tech, you must be brilliant, and therefore you should be doing something else with your time.

      (The main difference being that I think someone like Bill Gates has the skills and the commitment to put actions behind his words – unless aggressive consolidation of economic power and/or coordinating shipping routes are what the global war on hunger really needs, I’m not sure I see Bezos getting much done. But I’m sure he’ll fundraise lots of money to then distribute in sketchy ways.)

      • Esmeralda says:

        The shipping routes bit might be useful: efficiently distributing aid to those who need it. But I have a feeling Bezos will focus on vanity projects like rockets and self driving cars… and not on any sort of impactful charitable foundation. Let’s see if Amazon improves as an employer with new leadership…

    • LizzyD says:

      He is s going to be the executive chair….the CEO’s boss. I mean, moving from CEO to executive chair is technically a step up into a less stressful role. This isn’t that different than what Gates did or the Google founders. Being CEO takes up a lot of time and time is the only thing Bezos can’t buy more of. He still will be able to move Amazon cloud and retail business in whatever direction he would like. He just doesn’t have to do all the CEO stuff now…plus he can have an image makeover if he desires.
      Now he will have enough time to colonize Moon or Mars or whatever :(

      P.S & offtopic- I really dont get what Lauren sanchez brings to the table

  2. Digital Unicorn says:

    He’ll still be very wealthy from his shares but yeah I can see her pushing for him to have a bigger public profile – not only is she a gold digger she’s also a fame ho. She WANTS to be seen with him – I would not be surprised if there is some sort of ‘fly on the wall’ documentary following him around at some point. She’s another ‘courtside karen’.

    Plus I think he’s also distancing himself from potential court cases against Amazon and their practices and treatment of employees across the globe.

  3. SarahCS says:

    I asked myself broadly the same question when I saw this news yesterday! Given what we’ve seen him do since they got involved I can’t believe she doesn’t have a role in all of this.

  4. Darla says:

    I think she should have a show. She snagged the richest man in the world with that mug. Now, that’s someone who can tell you some things.

    • Kittylouise says:

      I love this comment. She really looks breathtaking.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      LOL, yeah esp when you compare her to his ex-wife and how she (Lauren) used to look before all the LA plastic surgery.

    • SpankFD says:

      Agreed. I’m pretty certain that what LS has to teach isn’t exactly PG rated. Which is too bad. The conventional wisdom is that JB is a putz being led around by his d*ck. Or maybe a pinky. Whatever. I hate it when I’m judge-y.

      Do you remember the movie Moonstruck? When Cher screams, “Snap out of it!” right after slapping Nick Cage?

      • Darla says:

        I don’t think it’s sex. I think it’s a talent for knowing what a particular male ego needs and providing it. I think it’s much trickier than sex. But I really don’t know for certain.

      • SpankFD says:

        I hear you, Daria, and I think “what the male ego needs” is deeply entwined with sex. JB has the EQ of a doorstop — helpful when achieving success at the expense of others — but a giant vulnerability in interpersonal relationships.

      • Darla says:

        lol! you are probably right. i suck big time at feeding men’s egos so I definitely am no guide.

    • MF1 says:

      HA! Well, you’re not wrong. I would watch that show in a heartbeat.

  5. Josie Bean says:

    Bezos may want to spend more time on his “Blue Origin” company, which relates to space exploration.

    The Financial Times had an article today entitled “Amazon ordered to pay back $61.7m after pocketing delivery drivers’ tips”. Apparently, for 2.5 years, Amazon withheld money given by customers that was intended for delivery drivers. But Amazon kept the money for themselves.
    Hard to get too much lower than pocketing someone else’s tips.

  6. Frida_K says:

    All he needs to do is add an “ar” to his name and then he will be Jeff Bezoars.

    He gives of a bezoar vibe, I think.

    And I wonder if he’s stepping down due to the 62 million $ judgement against Amazon for stealing tips from their drivers. Maybe more is coming and he’s getting out before Elizabeth Warren gets his company under the microscope.

    We shall see, won’t we?

  7. teehee says:

    Prolly to be politically active.

    HAH!! Like he could stand ten minu—- wait if hes with that chick Laura then maybe he has no issue working with evil morons after all. In fact it might be right up his alley.

  8. Sofia says:

    Bezos is getting into climate change which I guess you can’t really advocate for that while being the CEO of Amazon. But Bezos also stole profits, sits on the board and will have considerable influence so maybe that doesn’t matter idk.

    He’s also got the space company he wants to expand and compete with Tesla/Elon.

  9. Sunshine says:

    She reminds me of Don Jr.‘s girlfriend.

  10. Eleonora says:

    I don’t buy from Amazon anyway, but was surprised how many people I know don’t either. Most out of principle.

  11. Erin says:

    It’s not complicated, hes getting ready to run for President a la Fiorina/Whitman/Schultz.

  12. Mar says:

    That woman is frightening

  13. Coco says:

    I hope Mackenzie is laughing all day, surrounded by a bevy of lovers with full heads of hair.

  14. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I don’t know. Lightening the work load, but still a major player. Let someone else dick around with silly time-consuming lawsuits and making both employees and shareholders happy (haha). However it wouldn’t surprise me if he wants to put more focus on orbital real estate. One of the first trillion dollar corporations? What comes after that? Vacays wearing gravity boots.

  15. Amelie says:

    Well this is interesting but at the same time not surprising. I used to work for an Amazon subsidiary and I still have Amazon shares (office workers get RSUs regularly which is how they get you to stick around) that I haven’t sold from when I worked there. He isn’t going anywhere, just stepping down from the day-to-day and delegating responsibility. Being the CEO of Amazon means overseeing not just Amazon but in a way Audible, Goodreads, Zappos, IMDB, and Whole Foods among others. It’s a whole empire to keep up with. I absolutely thinks he wants to focus more on his space baby, Blue Origin. He’s always been open about his obsession with space travel and that is his true passion. Do any basic research on him and that’s evident. He obviously wants more time in his schedule to focus on it so he can compete with SpaceX and Virgin Galactic and whatever other private spaceflight companies exist. This would have happened regardless of Lauren Sanchez’s appearance in his life IMO.

    • Eugh says:

      Agree, most people don’t know he only built Amazon as a means to get to space. Same thing with Tesla – cars for space. It’s so wild when you think of it, it wasn’t just to build the world’s biggest company it was just a means to an end

  16. Ann says:

    I think he’s doing it out of competition with Elon Musk. Bezos wants to be the richest man alive. Bezos wants to go to space first. They are each other’s biggest competition as far as money and desire for attention goes.

    There are probably lots of other factors, including his leach of a GF also wanting more money and attention. I don’t think any of the reasons are good or moral. It’s why I boycott companies like Amazon and Walmart that do nothing but make their owners more money, at any cost.

  17. Sayrah says:

    Ick, Lauren Sanchez

  18. Dara says:

    What is it with billionaires and space? When did they decide that having “money to burn” meant using actual rocket fuel? Not to mention the very obvious symbolism of big cylindrical objects with impressive amounts of thrust. Freud would have a field day with this lot.

  19. laura-j says:

    Her face makes my face hurt.