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Amazon Introduces New Leadership Principles as Jeff Bezos Prepares to Step Down

Two new Amazon leadership principles will now shape the company’s corporate culture following the departure of its famed CEO.

Earlier this year, Amazon.com Inc. revealed that Jeff Bezos would step away from the company he built into a mega e-commerce and tech titan that surpassed a $1 trillion market cap last January.

The billionaire entrepreneur is scheduled to hand over his CEO role on July 5 to longtime deputy Andy Jassy, who has been with the company for over 24 years overseeing its Amazon Web Services division. Bezos will transition to the role of executive chair of the company’s board.

But before departing Amazon, Bezos is leaving one last mark on the retail giant with these new leadership principles.

The first is a goal to be “Earth’s Best Employer.”

To support that principle, the company stated a new set of ideals for its management personnel: “Leaders work every day to create a safer, more productive, higher performing, more diverse, and more just work environment. They lead with empathy, have fun at work, and make it easy for others to have fun. Leaders ask themselves: Are my fellow employees growing? Are they empowered? Are they ready for what’s next? Leaders have a vision for and commitment to their employees’ personal success, whether that be at Amazon or elsewhere.”

Amazon has come under heavy fire this past year for its labor practices, facing accusations of discrimination, as well as criticism for its alleged shortfalls in protecting workers during the COVID-19 health crisis. In April, it emerged victorious in a landmark union push by workers at the retailer’s Bessemer, Ala., facility. But in May it was hit with multiple lawsuits from employees who allege race and gender discrimination.

The company has so far responded by raising pay for half a million workers, who this spring saw an increase of between at least 50 cents and $3 an hour.

Amazon’s second new leadership principle acknowledges that a company its size must take responsibility for its impact.

In today’s statement, it said, “We are big, we impact the world, and we are far from perfect. We must be humble and thoughtful about even the secondary effects of our actions. Our local communities, planet, and future generations need us to be better every day. We must begin each day with a determination to make better, do better, and be better for our customers, our employees, our partners, and the world at large. And we must end every day knowing we can do even more tomorrow. Leaders create more than they consume and always leave things better than how they found them.”

As part of its Climate Pledge, Amazon has set a goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2040 — 10 years ahead of the date set by the Paris Agreement. In its 2020 Sustainability Report, the retail giant touted the launch of its $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund, which invests in carbon-reducing technologies and services, and the creation of its Climate Pledge Friendly certification for products that meet its sustainable criteria. According to the company, more than 75,000 products have been certified in the U.S. and Europe.

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