Jeff Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon — the company he founded that made him a global figure — on July 5, 2021. He chose that day for sentimental reasons. It was, after all, the 27th anniversary of the day the company was incorporated in 1994. About a year later, on July 16, 1995, Seattle-based Amazon opened its virtual doors and started selling books online. Bezos himself helped to package up the orders and deliver the boxes to the post office for shipping.
Since those early days, Bezos’ wealth has multiplied to stratospheric numbers. On July 5, when he transitioned to executive chairman of Amazon, Forbes listed Bezos as the world’s richest person with a net worth of $201.8 billion — more than $30 billion above the No. 2 person on the list, Tesla and SpaceX CEL Elon Musk.
In early January 2021, Bezos was overtaken by Musk as the wealthiest person on the list — briefly. In 2020, Bezos claimed that slot as the world’s wealthiest person for the third year in a row, despite giving $36 billion worth of his Amazon stock to his ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, as part of their divorce settlement in 2019.
Bezos has amassed astounding wealth — and significant controversy over how much he pays workers and donates to charity — while using Amazon to disrupt virtually every consumer industry.
Keep reading to see how Bezos’ ideas changed the way you shop, and how he made an absolute fortune in the process.