Amazon workers talk Jeff Bezos return amid Andy Jassy layoffs

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Amazon employees openly welcomed a potential comeback by Jeff Bezos to run the struggling e-retail giant after current CEO Andy Jassy announced a larger-than-expected wave of layoffs, according to a report Friday.

Speculation that Bezos could seek to supplant Jassy as CEO has increased during a sustained downturn in Amazon’s stock price. In a recent blog post, Michael Batnick, a managing partner of Ritholtz Wealth Management, suggested Bezos could “pull a Bob Iger” this year and return to stabilize the company he founded.

Employees reportedly discussed the possibility on an internal message board dedicated to the subject of layoffs on Thursday – the same day that Jassy cited economic uncertainty while detailing plans to slash more than 18,000 jobs early this year. Screenshots of the messages were obtained by Insider.

“Apparently not even Andy is safe,” one employee reportedly wrote alongside a link to Batnick’s interview with CNBC discussing why he felt a Bezos homecoming was possible.

Jeff Bezos is the world’s fifth-richest man.AFP

“He should come…he is the best,” another worker said in reference to Bezos.

A colleague responded with a screenshot that said “The Return of The King,” while another shared a picture of Bezos with the caption “miss me yet?”

Bezos ceded the role of CEO to Jassy in 2021, though he still serves as Amazon’s executive chairman. The Amazon founder currently ranks as the world’s fifth-richest person, with an estimated net worth of $109.4 billion, according to Forbes.

Amazon plans to lay off more than 18,000 workers.Education Images

But Bezos’ net worth has plummeted alongside Amazon’s valuation over the last year as a severe downturn hit the tech sector. Shares of Amazon and other Big Tech giants have steadily sold off as a series of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes sparked fears of an economic downturn.

Jassy has responded to the worsening economic outlook and sagging revenue with some cost-cutting measures, including this week’s round of layoffs.

One employee on Amazon’s internal chat board made reference to the company’s dismal recent performance.

Andy Jassy took over as Amazon’s CEO in 2021.Getty Images

“No wonder there are rumors [Bezos] is coming back. Probably asking [Jassy] WTH are you doing to my company,” the worker wrote.

So far, Bezos has given no indication that he plans to return to a more prominent role or that Jassy’s gig is in any jeopardy.

Insider’s report said some employees have also been critical of the messaging from Amazon executives as they embark on the layoffs, which Jassy discussed on an internal board Wednesday before the cuts were made public in a blog post later in the day.  

Bezos is still Amazon’s executive chairman.Getty Images

Amazon defended how it communicates with the staff.

“We increasingly communicate our significant news as a company through our internal site for employees (Inside Amazon) and external site for Amazon news (About Amazon),” an Amazon spokesperson told The Post on Friday.

“The overwhelming majority of feedback we received was as positive as it can be with difficult news like this. With 1.5 million employees, we always see varied feedback, and if we think there’s something to learn from that feedback, even if it’s a from small minority, we’ll make adjustments in the future,” the spokesperson added.

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