- Jeff Bezos sold nearly $5 billion of Amazon stock this week.
- The Amazon cofounder may have sold the shares to fund Blue Origin or the Bezos Earth Fund.
- Bezos is set to resign as CEO and become executive chairman later this year.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Jeff Bezos cashed out almost $5 billion of Amazon stock this week, as he prepares to step down as the e-commerce giant’s CEO next quarter.
Bezos sold about 1.5 million shares at an average price of around $3,350 between Monday and Thursday, netting himself $4.9 billion, regulatory filings show. The disposals reduced his total Amazon shares from 53.2 million to 51.7 million – a 10.3% stake worth $170 billion as of Friday’s close.
The Amazon chief’s sales, part of a pre-arranged trading plan, mark his first disposals this year after he sold $10 billion worth of stock in 2020. He could sell another 500,000 shares in the coming days, a separate SEC filing revealed this week.
Bezos has previously said he sells $1 billion of stock a year to fund Blue Origin, his aerospace company. He has also committed $10 billion to fund the Bezos Earth Fund, an organization dedicated to combating the climate crisis. It’s unclear whether the proceeds from his latest sales will be used to fund either of those ventures.
The Amazon cofounder told employees in February that he plans to step down as CEO in the third quarter of this year. Andy Jassy, head of Amazon Web Services, is set to replace him. Bezos will become Amazon’s executive chairman and focus on “new products and early initiatives,” he said.
Bezos is the world’s richest person, with a $192 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, number two on the list with a net worth of $184 billion, isn’t too far behind.
Amazon’s share price surged more than 74% last year as investors bet on a surge in online shopping and greater demand for cloud services during the pandemic. The stock was only up about 3% year-to-date as of Friday’s close.