- Some Amazon employees are calling for Jeff Bezos to return as CEO. Others joked about it.
- Amazon has announced the biggest layoffs in its history. The stock has fallen about 50% in a year.
- One Wall Street analyst speculated about Bezos’ return this year.
Some Amazon employees are calling for founder Jeff Bezos to return as CEO amid massive job cuts and a plummeting stock price.
On Thursday, a day after current CEO Andy Jassy announced more than 18,000 job cuts, Amazon staff took to the company’s Slack channel to vent their frustrations. According to screenshots seen by insiders, one chat group focused on the layoffs had about 26,000 members, with many staff members hoping Bezos would return to solve the company’s many problems. is suggesting.
Referring to Jassy, who took over as CEO from Bezos in July 2021, one employee wrote, “Looks like even Andy isn’t safe.” This year he will return as CEO.
“He should come… he’s the best,” another employee wrote, referring to Bezos. Do you still want to see me?” he wrote. With a photo of Bezos smiling.
Another employee said, “No wonder there are rumors. [Bezos] I’m back.probably asking [Jassy] what are you doing to my company ”
Some employees are particularly upset with the way Jassy communicated the layoffs. Even the directors and some vice presidents aren’t aware of any concrete plans, according to three people familiar with the situation. He requested anonymity to discuss sensitive issues.
Some of Jassy’s recent company-wide emails, like the one he sent around Thanksgiving titled “Gobble Gobble,” felt “deaf,” said one employee. member said. In a turkey-themed email viewed by insiders, the CEO acknowledged challenges, thanked Amazon employees, and called for resilience and optimism. With so much hype around the world over the past three years (in fact, we now have our own share), it’s easy for anxiety to overwhelm optimism.
Amazon isn’t the only company laying off staff. Meta, Twitter, and a host of other tech companies have recently laid off thousands of employees, making such changes difficult to get right.
An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment on whether Bezos would return or whether Jussy has the support of the board and the company.
“We increasingly communicate important news about our company through our internal employee site (Inside Amazon) and our external Amazon News site (About Amazon),” the spokesperson said in a statement. . “The overwhelming majority of the feedback we have received has been as positive as this difficult news. If we think we can learn from feedback, even if it’s on a small scale, we’re in the minority, so we’ll adjust.”
Employee chatter over Bezos’ possible return is at a critical juncture for Amazon. After the New York Times reported that Amazon cut about 10,000 jobs in his November, Jassy said Wednesday the company has decided to cut more than 18,000 jobs this year to cut costs. Amazon’s pandemic-driven growth has slowed dramatically, with its stock price dropping nearly 50% over the past year, wiping out nearly all of the gains made during the COVID-19 period.
Former CEOs sometimes come back, especially when founders and other longtime leaders see their creations stumbling from afar. Disney’s Bob Iger took over the helm for the first time in two years a few weeks ago.Starbucks’ Howard Schultz briefly returned as interim CEO last year. In Stitch Fix, founder Katrina Lake tentatively returned earlier this week. When Bezos stepped down as his CEO in 2021, he assumed the chairmanship.
Amazon’s ‘second day’ culture
Jassy has been dealing with chaos within Amazon for months. Last year, some current employees complained about issues such as a sloppy engineering culture, redundant layers of management and increased bureaucracy. They ridiculed the situation as “Day 2” culture finally coming to the company. This is a reference to her Bezos mantra that Amazon should always embrace a “Day 1” mentality. No matter how old the company is, it must retain the fast, risk-taking entrepreneurial spirit that started it.
Not all Amazon employees criticized Jassy. “Remember that many of the decisions that got us here were Bezos’s,” wrote one staffer, noting that Amazon’s overexpansion during the pandemic was prevalent before Jussie was named CEO. “I don’t know if it’s worth thinking about mental energy,” said another.
In a recent interview at the New York Times Dealbook Summit, reporter Andrew Sorkin jokingly said Bezos wouldn’t “pull the Eiger” because he looks like he’s “living his best life.” I told Jussie that I would.
“You’re probably in a good position,” Sorkin told Jussy, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Correction: January 6, 2023 — An earlier version of this article incorrectly described how Amazon employees learned of the planned layoffs of 18,000 people. According to Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener, his public Amazon blog post on the issue was a copy of an internal memo Amazon originally issued to employees. In an earlier version of this article, he didn’t even cite the New York Times, which reported in November that Amazon planned to lay off 10,000 of him.
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