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 September 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 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 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 topping $90 billion at the time.

His net worth took a hit in 2019, however, after he announced his marital divorce with MacKenzie Bezos on Twitter. At the time, the couple held 78.8 million shares of Amazon. As part of the settlement, MacKenzie Bezos let her ex-husband keep the entirety of the couple's stake in the Washington Post and Blue Origin, along with 75% of the mutually held Amazon shares. She also let him keep sole voting power over her 25% stake. This left Bezos with approximately 59.1 million shares. He held 55.5 million shares as of March 2020, having disposed of nearly 3.6 million shares since his divorce. Nevertheless, Jeff Bezos remains the richest person in the world.

MacKenzie Bezos

MacKenzie Bezos met Jeff Bezos in 1992 when he interviewed her for a position at hedge fund D.E. Shaw. They married in 1993. The couple divorced in 2019 after 25 years of marriage, with MacKenzie Bezos leaving her ex-husband 75% of their shares in Amazon along with sole voting power. As of December 31, 2019, she held approximately 19.5 million shares. She is the fourth richest woman in the world.

MacKenzie Bezos graduated from Hotchkiss School in Connecticut in 1988 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.

Andrew Jassy

Andrew Jassy is Amazon's third-largest individual shareholder, with a reported 95,568 shares of the company. Jassy is the CEO of Amazon Web Services, which offers various cloud computing services across the globe. He is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Business School. Jassy joined Amazon in 1997. With a team of 57 people, he founded Amazon Web Services in 2003. In April 2016, Jassy was promoted to CEO of Amazon Web Services, having previously served as senior vice president of the group. Prior to joining Amazon, Jassy worked at Coupa Software Inc. and founded a marketing consulting company, serving as its manager.

Jeffrey Wilke

Jeffrey Wilke holds 71,515 shares of Amazon, making him the company's fourth-largest shareholder. He has served as CEO Worldwide Consumer for Amazon since April 2016. Wilke joined Amazon in 1999 as vice president and general manager and was the senior vice president for the consumer business prior to his current role. He holds a BSE degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and did graduate work at MIT's Leaders for Global Operations (formerly Leaders for Manufacturing) program.