Bill Gates decided to heal the world. His Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen bought sports teams. Ted Turner piloted yachts. And Donald Trump got into politics.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, plans to build rockets and save the planet.
Bezos, 57, is the latest in a line of corporate titans who quit their daily jobs to pursue other activities.
Bezos, whose net worth is $ 197 billion (about INR 14.36.400 crores), according to Forbes magazine, announced on Tuesday that he was stepping down as CEO of the online retail giant he launched 27 years ago .
He said he would remain CEO of Amazon, but would devote more time to “passions”, such as his private space company Blue Origin and the Bezos Earth Fund, for which he made a $ 10 billion donation (about INR 73,000 crores) last year.
By stepping away from the executive suite, Bezos is following in the footsteps of other tycoons who have temporarily – and in some cases permanently – stopped running the businesses that have enriched them.
Gates, 65, and Allen, who died of cancer in 2018 at the age of 65, founded Microsoft in 1975 and made it the world’s leading computer software company.
Gates stepped down as CEO in 2000 and with his wife launched the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is dedicated to improving global health.
Gates, the fourth richest man in the world according to Forbes, resigned as president of Microsoft in 2014 and left the board in March last year.
Allen, whose fortune was estimated at $ 20 billion (about Rs.1,45,800 crores) by Forbes when he died, left Microsoft in 1983 when he suffered a first cancer attack, but remained on the board until 2000.
After leaving the company, Allen purchased the Portland Trail Blazers from the National Basketball Association and Seattle Seahawks from the National Football League.
He was also an active philanthropist, donating billions of dollars for medical research and other noble causes.
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Turner, 82, turned his father’s advertising company into a multi-billion dollar business, launching the Cable News Network (CNN) and also buying sports teams – Atlanta Braves from the Major League Baseball and Atlanta Hawks from the NBA.
But his real passion was sailing.
As captain of the “Courageous” yacht, he successfully defended America’s Cup in 1977 against the Australian challenger.
Several tycoons have left business behind for politics, most recently former President Trump, a global real estate tycoon, and Michael Bloomberg.
Trump, 74, ran for the White House in 2016, while Bloomberg, founder of the financial news company that bears his name, was elected mayor of New York City in 2001.
Bloomberg, 78, was re-elected mayor of the Big Apple in 2005 and in 2009 and made an ill-fated run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Bezos, who founded his space company Blue Origin in 2000, is not the only tycoon who has expanded his vision beyond Earth’s orbit.
Richard Branson, 70, founder of the Virgin Group, also runs a space flight company, Virgin Galactic, and is looking to make space tourism accessible.
Both Bezos and Branson, however, were left in the dust when it comes to space by another billionaire – South African Elon Musk, the second richest man in the world.
Musk, 49, made his first big fortune when PayPal was sold to eBay in 2002 and launched electric car company Tesla and solar power company SolarCity.
In 2002, Musk founded SpaceX.
Since then, it has become the world’s leading private rocket launch company, sending commercial satellites into space and delivering cargo to the International Space Station.
SpaceX became the first private company to launch humans into space last year, when it sent two astronauts to the ISS.