Amazon (AMZN) became the second company after Apple (AAPL) to cross the $1 trillion market capitalization when its stock moved beyond $2,000 per share in Sept. 2018. The company, which was founded in July 1994 by Jeffrey Bezos as an online bookstore, is now the largest online retailer in the world. As the company evolved, it began selling DVDs, CDs, streaming music, and video services. It then began offering a wide variety of products such as cloud storage, video games, software and electronics, clothing, toys, and food.

In fact, there are few things you can't get on Amazon today, and its shareholders have been rewarded handsomely as the retailer has experienced exponential growth over the years. In that respect, Jeff Bezos, McKenzie Bezos, Andrew R. Jassy, and Jeffery Wilke are the largest individual stakeholders.

Jeff Bezos

It is not a surprise that Amazon's chief executive officer (CEO) and founder, Jeff Bezos is the company's biggest shareholder. Bezos was born in 1964 in Albuquerque, N.M. He studied computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton University. After graduating, Bezos worked for the Wall Street firm D.E. Shaw, becoming the youngest senior vice president in its history.

Key Takeaways

  • Amazon is an online retailer that has grown exponentially over the years.
  • Jeff Bezos, the company's founder and CEO, is by far the biggest stakeholder in the company and the richest person in the world.
  • MacKenzie Bezos has a substantial stake in Amazon after receiving 25% of Jeff Bezos' shares in a divorce settlement.
  • Andrew Jassy and Jeffrey Wilke round out the top four individual holders of Amazon shares.

Bezos left D.E. Shaw and started Amazon in 1994, initially setting up the company in his garage in Seattle. After Bezos and a few employees wrote the software for Amazon, the company began to make $20,000 per week, selling products in 45 different countries. In September 2000, Bezos founded an aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight company called Blue Origin. In 2013, Bezos paid $250 million for the Washington Post.

On July 27, 2017, Jeff Bezos surpassed Bill Gates as the world's richest man with a net worth of over $124 billion. His net worth took a hit in 2019, however, after a marital divorce with MacKenzie Bezos. As part of the settlement, he transferred to her 19.7 million shares or 25% of a 78.8 million share stake. Still, with his 59.1 million shares, Jeff Bezos remains the richest person in the world.

MacKenzie Bezos

Mackenzie Bezos met Jeff Bezos in 1992 when both worked at D.E. Shaw. They married in 1993, and the marriage lasted 25 years. Born in 1970, she graduated from Hotchkiss School in Conn. in 1998 before earning a bachelor's degree in English from Princeton University in 1992. She is known as a novelist and philanthropist today, having founded the anti-bullying group Bystander Revolution in 2014. After the divorce in April 2019, she received $35.6 billion in Amazon stock and became the third-richest woman in the world.

Andrew R. Jassy

Andrew R. Jassy is the CEO of Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon that offers various cloud computing services across the globe. Before Jassy became the CEO of Amazon Web Services on April 13, 2016, he served as senior vice president of the group. With a team of 57 people, Jassy founded Amazon Web Services in 2003. According to the company's 2018 annual report, Andrew R. Jassy is Amazon's third-largest individual shareholder, with a reported 95,500 shares of the company. Jassy attended Harvard University, earning a bachelor's degree and master's of business administration (MBA). Prior to joining Amazon, Jassy worked at Coupa Software Inc. and founded a marketing consulting company, serving as its manager.

Jeffrey Wilke

Jeffrey Wilke has been the CEO Worldwide Consumer for Amazon since April 2016. Wilke joined Amazon in 1999 as vice president and general manager and served as the senior vice president for the consumer business prior to his current role. Wilke's 71,500 shares of Amazon make him the company's fourth-largest shareholder, according to Amazon's 2018 annual report. He holds a BSE degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and underwent graduate studies at MIT's Leaders for Global Operations (formerly Leaders for Manufacturing) program.