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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos steps down as CEO same day as Amazon Flex driver $61.7 million settlement

While independent bookstore owners probably would have liked to have heard the news of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos stepping down a couple of decades ago, the founder has officially announced that he has. Bezos confirmed via letter that he will no longer occupy the CEO spot in Q3 of 2021; it will be passed on to his colleague and Amazon executive Andy Jassy.

The brain behind Amazon.com has gone after every industry imaginable, literally proving why he bought the domain name Relentless.com in September 1994. From diaper chains to the music and TV industry to grocery stores, Bezos has been relentless in making Amazon become a force to be reckoned with. And at the time he made this announcement of stepping down as the CEO, he is rumored to be worth $184.6 billion.

However, he’s not stepping away from Amazon altogether. He will now operate as an executive chair, according to a letter he released to Amazon employees on Tues., Feb. 2.

Fellow Amazonians: I’m excited to announce that this Q3 I’ll transition to Executive Chair of the Amazon Board and Andy Jassy will become CEO. In the Exec Chair role, I intend to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives. Andy is well known inside the company and has been at Amazon almost as long as I have. He will be an outstanding leader, and he has my full confidence.

He went on in the letter to remind them of its 27-year history of becoming what Amazon is today, a place that employs 1.3 million, that serves “hundreds of millions of customers and business,” and the pioneer of e-commerce cultural revolutions:

  • Customer reviews
  • 1-Click purchasing
  • Personalized recommendations
  • Amazon Prime’s fast shipping
  • Just Walk Out shopping
  • Climate Pledge
  • Kindle
  • Alexa
  • Marketplace
  • Infrastructure cloud computing
  • Career Choice

In the letter, he went on to say, “I don’t know of another company with an invention track record as good as Amazon’s, and I believe we are at our most inventive right now. I hope you are as proud of our inventiveness as I am. I think you should be.”

Amazon owes Flex drivers millions in backpay

But not all customers and employees alike are as “proud” as he is, especially considering the news of him stepping down as CEO came along with same-day news regarding Amazon having to pay approximately $61.7 million in drivers’ tips that were skimmed over the years. The Federal Trade Commission unveiled a complaint against the ecommerce site, alleging that Amazon’s Flex program owed this amount to its drivers, who were not given their full tips between 2016 and 2019.

According to the report, the company advertised that Flex program drivers would be paid $18–25 per hour for their work making deliveries to customers. They were also told that they would get 100 percent of the tips earned while delivering with Amazon Flex.

However, what ended up happening was Amazon allegedly shifted from paying drivers the promised rate of $18–25 per hour, plus the full amount of customer tips, to paying drivers a lower hourly rate, a shift that it did not disclose to drivers. Amazon then used the customer tips to make up the difference between the new lower hourly rate and the promised rate.

While Amazon works on reimbursing Flex drivers for money that they are owed ($61,710,583 exactly), the FTC confirmed that Amazon is prohibited from “misrepresenting any driver’s likely income or rate of pay, how much of their tips will be paid to them, as well as whether the amount paid by a customer is a tip.”

They must also have the driver’s express informed consent before making any additional changes in regard to a driver’s tips as compensation. FTC is allowing drivers to sign up for refund updates here.

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