Amazon’s globetrotting CEO Jeff Bezos has been pulled back into the company’s day-to-day operations by the coronavirus, according to a new report.
The 56-year-old Bezos who in recent years has delegated management of his $1.2 trillion e-commerce juggernaut while he turned his focus to moonshot projects like his Blue Origin rocket company, has been forced to retake the reins as the viral pandemic has wreaked havoc on Amazon’s logistical supply chain.
Bezos began taking daily calls including on weekends with executives during the peak of the crisis in March to discuss Amazon’s strategy and response, the New York Times reports. Topics ranged from decisions about managing warehouse inventory and testing employees for the virus, as well as “how and when down to the minute Amazon” would respond to harsh public criticism.
The world’s richest man, with a net worth of more than $145 billion, is “incredibly focused on this and is participating in, and driving, [Amazon’s] leadership meetings,” Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president for corporate affairs told the Times.
Amazon has faced harsh criticism in recent weeks for the conditions its warehouse workers have been forced to toil under during the pandemic.
The company’s warehouses in areas hit hardest by the coronavirus, including New York, Detroit and Chicago, have seen employee protests amid reports that dozens of warehouse workers have fallen ill.
Indeed, part of Bezos’ renewed attention on his company included a tour of an Amazon warehouse and Whole Foods supermarket near Dallas, where he greeted employees and thanked them for their hard work.
Bezos was also personally involved in Amazon’s decision to suspend third-party vendors from shipping non-essential items to Amazon’s warehouses, helping ease the load on workers so that they could more efficiently ship goods like baby products, groceries, pet supplies and personal care products.
He also signed off on Amazon’s move to halt tactics it normally uses to encourage customers to put more items in their shopping carts, as well as cancelling its traditional Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Deals and indefinitely delaying its famed Prime Day extravaganza.
Shares of Amazon were up 1.9 percent Thursday morning, and are up 26.6 percent over the past month, to $2,408.10.