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Chairman & Founder, Amazon


No. 2

Rank on 2022 Forbes 400 List

$120 B

Net Worth as of Nov. 1, 2022


AGE: 58 | SOURCE OF WEALTH: AMAZON | SELF-MADE SCORE: 8/10 | RESIDENCE: MEDINA, WASHINGTON | CITIZENSHIP: UNITED STATES | EDUCATION: BACHELORS ARTS/SCIENCE, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

Jeff Bezos quit his job at hedge fund D.E. Shaw in 1994 and drove to Seattle with his then-wife MacKenzie to launch an online bookstore. He went on to build Amazon, the most innovative and feared juggernaut in the 21st century. The world’s largest e-commerce retailer, it also dominates cloud storage and has moved into movie and series production to feed Amazon Prime Video. Bezos, who stepped down as CEO of Amazon in July 2021 but remains chairman, has invested in a slew of startups including digital media company Overtime Sports and Wildtype, which makes seafood from fish cells. In a public setback, his private rocket company Blue Origin had to abort a rocket launch in September 2022.

Wealth History

Asset Breakdown

As of Nov. 1, 2022


📦 Amazon: $96.4 B

Bezos owns about 10% of the e-commerce giant, which accounts for nearly 90% of his fortune. Since Amazon went public in 1997, he has sold more than $27 billion worth of stock. In 2019, he transferred a quarter of his Amazon stake–or 4% of the company–to ex-wife MacKenzie Scott as part of their divorce settlement.

📰 Cash & investments: $13 B

Forbes estimates that Bezos has nearly $13 billion in cash and investments. His family office, Bezos Expeditions, has invested in more than 100 startups, according to PitchBook, including sports media company Overtime and Chilean plant-based milk unicorn NotCo.

🚀 Blue Origin: $8.7 B

For more than two decades, Bezos has been funding his private space company, Blue Origin. Forbes estimates that Bezos has poured at least $8 billion into Blue Origin— which launched him into space in 2021—since its founding in 2000.

🏙️ Washington Post: $2 B

Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million in 2013. Forbes estimates the newspaper is worth about $2 billion today as a result of growth in ad revenue and digital subscribers.

🛩️ Homes: $400 M 🛥️

Bezos own homes in Washington D.C., New York, Beverly Hills, Hawaii and Medina, Washington. Likely as part of the divorce, he transferred two homes the couple owned in Los Angeles, worth $55 million, to his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott, who donated them in September 2022 to the California Community Foundation to fund affordable housing.

💵 Jets & Yacht: $140 M

Bezos ordered a superyacht so big that shipmaker Oceanco had to request that a historic bridge in Rotterdam be dismantled in order for the vessel to leave. The yacht, which will reportedly cost $500 million and as of summer 2022 was on the verge of completion, was eventually towed away after intense backlash with the bridge still intact. Bezos’s two Gulfstream G650ER private jets are worth a combined $134 million, plus he owns a helicopter worth $6 million.

“We’re gifted with some very large businesses we’ve built over time, and we can’t afford to put our energies into something that if it works, it’s still going to be small.”

Jeff Bezos

Philanthropy

2/5

Philanthropy Score

Forbes estimates that Bezos has donated $2.4 billion—less than 2% of his total net worth—to charitable causes during his lifetime. While Bezos in 2020 said he would spend $10 billion to combat climate change over the next decade, Forbes only counts money out-the-door, not pledges. Forbes also doesn’t count stock gifted to nonprofits if the billionaire doesn’t reveal the recipient of those shares. In a mid-November 2022 interview with CNN, Bezos said he plans to give away the majority of his fortune in his lifetime, and also said that philanthropy is hard. “We’re building the capacity to give away this money,” he explained.


HERE ARE SOME OF BEZOS’S LARGEST DONATIONS TO DATE:

$1.4 B

in grants through the Bezos Earth Fund, Bezos’s $10 billion climate change organization, since 2020

$400 M

in grants through the Bezos Day One Fund, a $2 billion commitment to help families experiencing homelessness, since 2018

$200 M

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in 2021 for the inaugural Courage & Civility Award, which granted $100 million each to chef Jose Andres and political commentator Van Jones to donate to a charity of their choice

$200 M

pledge over four years made in 2021 to support the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

$100 M

in 2020 to hunger relief organization Feeding America to help food banks during the pandemic

$100 M

in 2021 to the Obama Foundation, plus another $100 million each to activist Van Jones and chef Jose Andres for the Courage & Civility Award—for those two people to distribute as they best see fit.

$100 M

in November 2022, Bezos and his partner Lauren Sanchez, vice chair of the Bezos Earth Fund, awarded singer Dolly Parton the 2022 Bezos Courage & Civility Award, which was accompanied by $100 million for her to give to the nonprofits she chooses to support.

History

1968

Jeff Bezos was born to a teen mom in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Strapped for cash and divorced from his biological father, Bezos’ mother Jacklyn worked as a bookkeeper at the Bank of New Mexico during the day and brought Bezos, then just an infant, to college classes with her at night. Jacklyn eventually met and married Miguel Bezos, a Cuban immigrant who came to America when he was 16. The three of them moved to Houston, Texas after Miguel took a job as an engineer at Exxon. When Bezos was four, Miguel, who goes by Mike, officially adopted Jeff as his own son.

1994

When the internet was in its infancy, Bezos quit his high-paying Wall Street job at hedge fund D.E. Shaw to start an online bookstore operated out of his garage in Bellevue, Washington. His then-wife MacKenzie helped with a variety of tasks, including handling accounting and packing orders to ship.

1997

Bezos took Amazon.com public in May. The following year, he became a billionaire, debuting on The Forbes 400 list of richest Americans with a $1.6 billion net worth.

2008

Known for his ruthless leadership style and competitive streak, Bezos methodically grew Amazon into the largest online retailer in the world, often drawing the ire of mom and pop shops and smaller competitors along the way. Amazon has since branched out into other industries, including its most profitable unit: cloud computing arm Amazon Web Services. Under Bezos, Amazon has made a string of big-name acquisitions: audiobook service Audible in 2008, online shoe retailer Zappos in 2009 and, streaming service Twitch in 2014

2017

Thanks to Amazon’s soaring stock price, Bezos became the richest person in the world in July with a net worth of $90.6 billion, surpassing Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg, Forbes reported. A month later, Amazon bought supermarket chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.

2019

Bezos’ personal life became tabloid fodder. He and MacKenzie announced their divorce on Twitter in January, just before the National Enquirer published illicit texts revealing Bezos was having an affair with now-girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.

In April Bezos announced on Twitter that he was transferring a quarter of his 16% Amazon stake, then worth $36 billion, to MacKenzie as a result of the divorce.

Bezos publicly accused National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc of blackmail in an open letter and launched his own investigation into how the tabloid got his phone contents. AMI denied any wrongdoing. The Wall Street Journal later reported that Sanchez’s brother leaked his texts and photos to the National Enquirer for a $200,000 payout.

2021

Bezos stepped down as CEO in July after 28 years at the helm. He still serves as executive chairman. His private space company Blue Origin launched him into space in July. He stepped up his philanthropy with donations to the Obama Foundation and the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.

2022

Bezos is focusing on endeavors outside Amazon. He commissioned a $500 million super-yacht so big that shipmaker Oceanco had to request that a historic bridge in Rotterdam be dismantled in order for the vessel to leave. After Bezos faced intense backlash, the yacht, which is on the verge of completion, was eventually towed away with the bridge still intact.

On The Cover: Jeff Bezos

( left: April 2012; right: September 2018 )

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