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Amazon sets a new tone as Jeff Bezos's era comes to an end

Jeff Bezos assures shareholders they're in good hands

July 5, 2021: -On Thursday, Amazon added two new entries to its vaunted “leadership principles,” a list of over a dozen business philosophies meant to guide employee goals and decisions.

The leadership principles of Amazon have existed since the company’s earliest days, like “Customer Obsession” and “Invent and Simplify,” and are the foundation of its corporate culture. The new additions possess a distinctly different tone, which adopts the theme of prominent criticisms that have been levied against the company.

The first, “Strive to be Earth’s Best, Employer,” calls on leaders to “work every day to create a safer, more productive, higher-performing, diverse, and just work environment.”

This year, it’s in line with what CEO Jeff Bezos laid out in his final letter to shareholders, wherein he acknowledged Amazon needs to do even a job for employees. Amazon has faced routine criticism from employees who say it has cultivated a brutal workplace culture, with tensions that increase to a head in April between a failed unionization vote at Alabama warehouses.

One more addition, “Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility,” highlights how the status of Amazon as the largest online retailer and cloud computing company in the world brings with it new challenges.

“We started in a garage, but we’re not there anymore,” the new principle states. “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,” the principal added.

Amazon faced mounting pressure from regulators and lawmakers worldwide over whether it’s unfairly wielding its size and influence against competitors.

Amazon hadn’t updated its list of leadership principles since 2015, when it added the 14th principle, “Learn and Be Curious.”

The decision could be one of the last acts of Bezos as CEO. He is set to formally step down as chief executive on July 5, which turns the helm over to cloud computing boss Andy Jassy. In February, Bezos will transition to executive chairman of the board of Amazon, giving him above to focus on “new products and early initiatives,” he wrote in an email to employees of Amazon.

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