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Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos visits LAAFB SMC (3908618) (cropped).jpeg
Bezos at the LAAFB SMC in 2017
Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen

(1964-01-12) January 12, 1964 (age 59)
Education Princeton University (BSE)
  • Entrepreneur
  • media proprietor
  • investor
  • computer engineer
Years active 1986–present
  • Founder and executive chairman of Amazon
  • Founder of Blue Origin
  • Founder of Bezos Expeditions
(m. 1993; div. 2019)
Partner(s) Lauren Sánchez
Children 4
  • Jackie Bezos
  • Ted Jorgensen
Relatives Mark Bezos (half-brother)
Jeff Bezos signature.svg

Jeffrey Preston Bezos ( BAY-zohss;  Jorgensen; born January 12, 1964) is an American business magnate, media proprietor, and investor. He is the founder, executive chairman, and former president and CEO of Amazon, the world's largest e-commerce and cloud computing company. With a net worth of US$160 billion as of September 2023, Bezos is the third-wealthiest person in the world and was the wealthiest from 2017 to 2021, according to both the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Forbes.

Early life

Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January 12, 1964, the son of Jacklyn (née Gise) and Ted Jorgensen. At the time of Jeff's birth, his mother was a 17-year-old high-school student and his father was 19 years old. Jorgensen was a Danish American unicyclist born in Chicago to a family of Baptists. After completing high school despite challenging conditions, Jacklyn attended night school, bringing her baby with her. Jeff attended a Montessori school in Albuquerque when he was two years old.

Ted Jorgensen drank and struggled financially. Jacklyn left her husband to live with her parents, filing for divorce in June 1965 when Jeff was seventeen months old.

After his parents divorced, his mother married Cuban immigrant Miguel "Mike" Bezos in April 1968. Shortly after the wedding, Mike adopted four-year-old Jeff, whose surname was then legally changed from Jorgensen to Bezos. Gise, her husband and her son left the area and asked Jorgensen to discontinue contact, to which he agreed.


After Mike had received his degree from the University of New Mexico, the family moved to Houston, Texas, so that he could begin working as an engineer for Exxon. Jeff attended River Oaks Elementary School in Houston from fourth to sixth grade.

Jeff's maternal grandfather was Lawrence Preston Gise, a regional director of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in Albuquerque. Lawrence retired early to his family's ranch near Cotulla, Texas, where Jeff would spend many summers in his youth. Jeff would later purchase this ranch and expand it from 25,000 acres (10,117 ha) to 300,000 acres (121,406 ha).

The family moved to Miami, Florida, where Jeff attended Miami Palmetto High School.

Bezos attended the Student Science Training Program at the University of Florida. In his graduation speech, Bezos told the audience he dreamed of the day when mankind would colonize space. A local newspaper quoted his intention "to get all people off the earth and see it turned into a huge national park".

In 1986, he graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a 4.2 GPA and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree (B.S.E.) in electrical engineering and computer science; he was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Business career

Annual estimates of Jeff Bezos's net worth
Year Billions Change Year Billions Change
1999 10.1 Steady 0.0% 2009 6.8 Decrease 17.1%
2000 6.1 Decrease 40.5% 2010 12.6 Increase 85.3%
2001 2.0 Decrease 66.6% 2011 18.1 Increase 43.7%
2002 1.5 Decrease 25.0% 2012 23.2 Increase 28.2%
2003 2.5 Increase 66.6% 2013 28.9 Increase 24.5%
2004 5.1 Increase 104% 2014 30.5 Increase 5.5%
2005 4.1 Decrease 19.6% 2015 50.3 Increase 60.9%
2006 4.3 Increase 5.1% 2016 45.2 Decrease 10.1%
2007 8.7 Increase 102.3% 2017 72.8 Increase 61.6%
2008 8.2 Decrease 5.7% 2018 112.0 Increase 53.8%
Main data source: Forbes World's Billionaires Estimates
Additional reference(s): Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Early career

After Bezos graduated from college in 1986, he was offered jobs at Intel, Bell Labs, and Andersen Consulting, among others. He first worked at Fitel, a fintech telecommunications start-up, where he was tasked with building a network for international trade. Bezos was promoted to head of development and director of customer service thereafter. He transitioned into the banking industry when he became a product manager at Bankers Trust from 1988 to 1990. He then joined D. E. Shaw & Co, a newly created hedge fund with a strong emphasis on mathematical modelling from 1990 until 1994. Bezos became D. E. Shaw's fourth senior vice-president by age 30.


Jeff Bezos visits the Robot Co-op in 2005
Bezos (front row, center) at the Robot Co-op in 2005

Bezos founded Amazon in late 1994 on a road trip from New York City to Seattle. The company began as an online bookstore and has since expanded to a variety of other e-commerce products and services, including video and audio streaming, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. It is the world's largest online sales company, the largest Internet company by revenue, and the largest provider of virtual assistants and cloud infrastructure services through its Amazon Web Services branch.

On July 5, 2021, Bezos stepped down as the CEO and president of Amazon and took over the role of executive chairman. AWS CEO Andy Jassy succeeded Bezos as the CEO and president of Amazon.

Blue Origin

NASA Deputy Administrator Tours Blue Origin
Bezos and Rob Meyerson (fifth from left) giving NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver (fourth from left) a tour of Blue Origin's crew capsule in 2011

Bezos founded the aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company Blue Origin in 2000. Blue Origin's New Shepard vehicle reached space in 2015 and afterwards successfully landed back on Earth; he flew into space on Blue Origin NS-16 in 2021.

The Washington Post

Bezos purchased the major American newspaper The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million.

Altos Labs

In September 2021, Bezos co-founded the biotechnology company Altos Labs with founder Yuri Milner. Altos Labs is a well-funded biotechnology company dedicated to harnessing cellular reprogramming to develop longevity therapeutics. The company has recruited prominent scientists such as Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte (known for work on rejuvenation through reprogramming), Steve Horvath (known for work in epigenetic aging clocks), and Shinya Yamanaka (the Nobel Prize-winning inventor of cellular reprogramming in mammalian cells).

He manages many other investments through his venture capital firm, Bezos Expeditions.

Public image

Naturalization Ceremony (27590969882)
Bezos at a naturalization ceremony on June 14, 2016

Journalist Nellie Bowles of The New York Times has described the public persona and personality of Bezos as that of "a brilliant but mysterious and coldblooded corporate titan". Throughout the early 2000s, he was perceived to be geeky or nerdy.

Bezos was seen by some as needlessly quantitative and data-driven.

During the early 2010s, Bezos solidified his reputation for aggressive business practices, and his public image began to shift. Bezos started to wear tailored clothing; he weight trained, pursued a regimented diet and began to freely spend his money. His physical transformation has been compared to the transformation of Amazon; he is often referred to as the metonym of the company. His physical appearance increased the public's perception of him as a symbolically dominant figure in business and in popular culture, wherein he has been parodied as an enterprising supervillain.

During the late 2010s, Bezos reversed his reputation for being reluctant to spend money on non-business-related expenses. His relative lack of philanthropy compared to other billionaires has drawn a negative response from the public since 2016.


  • In 1999, Bezos received his first major award when Time named him Person of the Year.
  • In 2008, he was selected by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's best leaders.
  • Bezos was awarded an honorary doctorate in science and technology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008.
  • In 2011, The Economist gave Bezos and Gregg Zehr an Innovation Award for the Amazon Kindle.
  • In 2012, Bezos was named Businessperson of the Year by Fortune.
  • He is also a member of the Bilderberg Group and attended the 2011 Bilderberg conference in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and the 2013 conference in Watford, Hertfordshire, England. He was a member of the executive committee of The Business Council for 2011 and 2012.
  • 2014–2018, he was ranked the best-performing CEO in the world by Harvard Business Review.
  • He has also figured in Fortune's list of 50 great leaders of the world for three straight years, topping the list in 2015.
  • In September 2016, Bezos received a $250,000 prize for winning the Heinlein Prize for Advances in Space Commercialization, which he donated to the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.
  • In February 2018, Bezos was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for "leadership and innovation in space exploration, autonomous systems, and building a commercial pathway for human space flight".
  • In March 2018, at the Explorers Club annual dinner, he was awarded the Buzz Aldrin Space Exploration Award in recognition of his work with Blue Origin.
  • He received Germany's 2018 Axel Springer Award for Business Innovation and Social Responsibility. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world on five separate occasions between 2008 and 2018.
  • In 2019, Bezos was inducted into the Living Legends of Aviation, being awarded with the Jeff Bezos Freedom's Wings Award and the Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award.
  • In February 2023, Bezos was presented with the Légion d'honneur, the highest French order of merit. Bezos had been designated a member of the Légion d'Honneur about 10 years earlier but was not available to collect it.

Personal life

Jeff Bezos talking
Bezos in 2017

In 1992, Bezos was working for D. E. Shaw in Manhattan when he met novelist MacKenzie Tuttle, who was a research associate at the firm; the couple married a year later. In 1994, they moved across the country to Seattle, Washington, where Bezos founded Amazon. Bezos and his now ex-wife MacKenzie are the parents of four children: three sons and one daughter adopted from China.

In January 2019, Bezos and his wife Mackenzie released a joint statement which revealed that they would be getting divorced after 25 years together. Subsequently, National Enquirer revealed that Bezos was in a relationship with media personality Lauren Sánchez.

On April 4, 2019, the divorce was finalized, with Bezos keeping 75% of the couple's Amazon stock and MacKenzie getting the remaining 25% ($35.6 billion) in Amazon stock. However, Bezos would keep all of the couple's voting rights.

In May 2023, it was confirmed that Bezos and Sánchez were engaged.

Interesting facts about Jeff Bezos

  • As a child, Jeff displayed scientific interests and technological proficiency and once rigged an electric alarm to keep his younger siblings out of his room.
  • While Jeff was in high school, he worked at McDonald's as a short-order line cook during the breakfast shift.
  • He was high school valedictorian, a National Merit Scholar, and a Silver Knight Award winner in 1982.
  • While at Princeton, Bezos was a member of the Quadrangle Club, one of Princeton's 11 eating clubs. In addition, he was elected to Tau Beta Pi and was the president of the Princeton chapter of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS).
  • Bezos first became a millionaire in 1997 after raising $54 million through Amazon's initial public offering (IPO).
  • The first centibillionaire on the Forbes Real Time Billionaires Index and the second ever to have eclipsed the feat since Bill Gates in 1999, Bezos was named the "richest man in modern history" after his net worth increased to $150 billion in July 2018.
  • In May 2014, the International Trade Union Confederation named Bezos the "World's Worst Boss", citing Amazon's relatively low environment, social, and governance scores, stressing working conditions and employment policies, data security, and antitrust issues.
  • Bezos is known for creating an adversarial environment at Amazon, as well as insulting and verbally abusing his employees.
  • Bezos is the owner of the Y721, a luxury superyacht estimated to cost more than $500,000,000. When commissioned in August 2022, the yacht was the second-largest sailing yacht in the world, after Andrey Melnichenko's Sailing Yacht A.
  • He portrayed a Starfleet official in the 2016 movie Star Trek Beyond, and joined the cast and crew at a San Diego Comic-Con screening.
  • Bezos's family corporation Zefram LLC is named after Zefram Cochrane, a character from Star Trek.
  • He is the Honorary Chair of the Explorers Club.

Jeff Besoz qoutes

  • "Life's too short to hang out with people who aren't resourceful."
  • "If you can't tolerate critics, don't do anything new or interesting."
  • "I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you're going to innovate."
  • "What's dangerous is not to evolve."
  • "A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well."


Recovered F-1 Engine parts
Bezos funded the retrieval of these F-1 engine parts from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 2015, eventually donating them to the Seattle Museum of Flight. They are from Apollo 16 (above) and Apollo 12 (below).

Bezos donated to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center several times between 2009 and 2017. In 2013, he pledged $500,000 to Worldreader, a non-profit founded by a former Amazon employee.

In September 2018, Business Insider reported that Bezos was the only one of the top five billionaires in the world who had not signed the Giving Pledge, an initiative created by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett that encourages wealthy people to give away a majority of their wealth.

Bezos announced in September 2018 that he would commit approximately $2 billion to a fund to deal with American homelessness and establish a network of non-profit preschools for low income communities. As part of this announcement, he committed to establishing the "Day 1 Families Fund" to finance "night shelters and day care centers for homeless families" and the "Day 1 Academies Fund" for early childhood education.

In January 2018, Bezos made a $33 million donation to TheDream.US, a college scholarship fund for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as minors. In June 2018, Bezos donated to Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a private philanthropic fund founded by Bill Gates aimed at promoting emissions-free energy. In September 2018, Bezos donated $10 million to With Honor, a nonpartisan organization that works to increase the number of veterans in political office.

In February 2020, Bezos pledged $10 billion to combat climate change through the Bezos Earth Fund. Later that year, in November, Bezos announced $791M of donations to established, well-known groups, with $100M each going to Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund, and the remainder going to 11 other groups. In April 2020, early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Bezos donated $100 million to food banks through Feeding America. In November 2021, Bezos pledged to donate $2 billion towards restructuring food systems and nature conservation at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Bezos Academy is a group of tuition-free preschools for students from low-income families, which was created by Bezos, and which operate in a manner similar to the Montessori method.

In November 2022, Bezos granted a $100-million Courage and Civility Award to singer Dolly Parton in recognition of her charity work focused on improving children's literacy around the world.

On November 22, 2022, Jeff Bezos awarded $123 million to organizations that are engaged in relocating homeless families to permanent housing. Day 1 Families Fund grants, the amounts of which vary in monetary terms, will be sent to 40 organizations across the country.

Images for kids

See also

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