Billionaire American technology entrepreneur, Jeff Bezos, is according to Forbes, the wealthiest person in the world in 2018, thanks mostly to the increase in the share price of the company he founded and is most known for, Amazon.
The electrical engineering and computer science degrees holder, who is also an investor and philanthropist, has business interests in aerospace, venture capital, and media.
Jeff Bezos was born Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen on January 12, 1964, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. By the age of four, following his mother’s second marriage to Mike Bezos, Jeff began to go by his stepfather’s name as he and his father were no longer in contact with each other.
The Bezos family later moved to Houston Texas where his stepfather had gotten a job at Exxon Oil Company. Bezos attended River Oaks Elementary School in Houston and then Miami Palmetto High School on a national merit scholarship after his family moved to Florida.
While in high school, Bezos was awarded a Silver Knight Award after he attended the Student Science Training Program at the University of Florida. He went on to become high school valedictorian before attending Princeton University where he graduated in 1986 with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. He was notably a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was also elected to Tau Beta Pi honour societies.
After graduating from Princeton, Bezos got job offers from some of the biggest companies in the United States. He, however, went on to work for a financial telecommunications start-up called Fitel before later moving to the banking sector where he worked as a manager at Bankers Trust. By 1990, Bezos joined investment management firm D. E. Shaw & Co, where he rose to become vice president within four years.
By 1993, he had the idea of leaving his job and starting an online bookstore. He reportedly told his parents about it and they were sceptical, mostly because his current job was very secure. In 1994, Jeff Bezos eventually took the huge step of quitting and starting his own company which he called Amazon.
Amazon, which started as a bookstore, went on to morph into a general online retail store. After buying up all other competing firms and launching subsidiaries like Amazon Web Services and Amazon Kindle, the company was, by 2013, the largest online shopping retailer in the world.
Jeff Bezos, who the New York Times has described as a “brilliant but mysterious and cold-blooded corporate titan”, has other major business interests which include human spaceflight company, Blue Origin, American daily newspaper, The Washington Post, and private equity firm, Bezos Expeditions.
Time magazine named him Person of the Year in 1999 and by 2018, included him in the world most influential people’s list. He became a millionaire in 1997 and in just two years time, he rose to become a billionaire with a reported net worth of $10.1 billion in 1999. He has continued on a meteoric rise that has seen him become the wealthiest person in the world.
Jeff Bezos Family – Parents, Wife, Children
Jeff Bezos was born to Jacqueline Gise and Ted Jorgensen who were both teenagers at the time of his birth. The couple married soon after their child had been born but following some financial troubles and neglect by Jorgensen, the marriage ended in divorce after just seventeen months.
Jacqueline, who has also been referred to as Jackie or Jacklyn, went on to marry Cuban immigrant Miguel ‘Mike’ Bezos who adopted her son while his biological father left New Mexico and moved to Arizona where he ran a bicycle repair shop and married another woman.
Mike and Jackie Bezos are still married today and have two more children of their own; Mark Bezos and Christina Bezos.
Jeff Bezos is married to novelist MacKenzie Bezos (nee Tuttle) whom he met in 1992 while working for an investment management firm on Wall Street. The couple married a year later and moved to Seattle, Washington where they currently reside. They have four children; three sons, and a daughter who was adopted from China.
Bezos, who is an advocate for the legalization of same-sex marriage, is said to be a Christian by religion but his specific denomination is unknown. This is because the billionaire philanthropist has always insisted that he respects all religions and does not try to dominate others on the matter.
Height, Weight, and Other Facts
Birth Name: Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen
Date of Birth: January 12, 1964
Place of Birth: Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
Education: Princeton University
Occupation(s): Technology, Entrepreneur, Investor, Philanthropist
Height: 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm)
Weight: 70 kg
Net Worth: US$144.0 billion (2018).