Jeff Bezos, the builder of a controversial empire with unwavering determination

Jeff Bezos, the builder of a controversial empire with unwavering determination

Jeff Bezos, soon to step down from the day-to-day management of Amazon, is a determined man who has become extremely wealthy and powerful thanks to the sprawling empire he has built from his garage, and ready to strike back when he is offensive.

Rather discreet by nature, Jeffrey Preston Bezos, 57, assured that he would stay “engaged” in the big decisions of the group he launched in 1994, when he handed over his position as chief executive to Andy Jassy in the third quarter.

But he will not lack activities: he is also the owner of the daily newspaper Washington Post and the space company Blue Origin, as well as the creator of the philanthropic organizations Day 1 Fund and Bezos Earth Fund.

The planetary success of Amazon, and the resulting stock market rise, allowed him to become the richest man in the world. He has been arguing since the beginning of the year for this place with another entrepreneur, Tesla boss Elon Musk.

This stature had brought him into the people section in 2019 when he publicly announced his divorce from his wife MacKenzie Scott, married 25 years earlier and with whom he had four children.

A few weeks later, the multi-billionaire found himself at the heart of a resounding scandal based on conspiracy, blackmail, mistress and naughty photos, all against a backdrop of proven enmity with former US President Donald Trump.

Threatened, according to him, of blackmail with the naked photo by the National Enquirer, a tabloid of a close friend of the president, he had not hesitated to counterattack by publicly revealing the affair, even if it meant spreading his private life in place. public and throwing away the juicy details of the photos that the weekly threatened to publish.

Mission Moon

Known for his thunderous bursts of laughter, often giving the image of a simple man despite his fortune estimated Tuesday by Forbes magazine at 196 billion dollars, Jeff Bezos then revealed in broad daylight what allowed him to make Amazon one of the largest companies in the world: a strong character and unfailing determination.

A simple online bookstore at the start, with finances in the red for a long time, the group has now become an unavoidable sprawling giant, which dominates e-commerce, remote computing (“clouds“) or connected voice assistants.

The Bezos method? Investing in all directions and disrupting economic sectors by lowering prices, to the point of being nicknamed the “disrupter-in-chief“.

After books, clothing, furniture, streaming, and fresh products, last fall it tackled a new niche again, drugs, with the launch of an online pharmacy service. .

Bezos leaves Amazon but will stay in business

Successes which are also worth to the mastodon of Seattle to be often regarded as a steamroller without qualms for the competition and for the working conditions of its own employees.

Claiming to be attached to “great journalism“, he bought the Washington Post in 2013 and has always assured that he would leave the famous daily all its editorial independence.

It is moreover the fact of owning this newspaper which had largely contributed to the hostility that Donald Trump regularly showed him when he was in the White House.

Jeff Bezos, a great lover of science fiction, is also known for his sometimes explosive passions: he notably built a monumental clock 150 meters high, supposed to run for 10,000 years and symbolize “long-term thinking“.

It also finances Blue Origin, which wants to send tourists into space and aims to build a ship and a lunar lander capable of delivering cargo and habitat modules to the Moon.

Real name Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen, he was adopted as a child by his stepfather Miguel Bezos, a Cuban immigrant.

During a congressional hearing last summer, he recalled his birth, a high school mother and an immigrant father, his modest childhood, and the creation of Amazon, in a garage , the first of a long series of risk-taking.

After studying in Florida and then at the prestigious Princeton University, he worked for several years on Wall Street before deciding to start his own business, driven by his fascination with the internet.

In a letter announcing his departure to Amazon employees, Jeff Bezos urged them Tuesday to “keep inventing“. And, he added, “don’t despair when the idea seems crazy at first“.