In his final letter to shareholders as Amazon CEO before he steps down from the role later this year, Jeff Bezos spent much of his time addressing the complaints of critics, both directly and indirectly.
“Does your Chair take comfort in the outcome of the recent union vote in Bessemer? No, he doesn’t,” Bezos wrote. “I think we need to do a better job for our employees. While the voting results were lopsided and our direct relationship with employees is strong, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees – a vision for their success.”
Bezos also defended Amazon’s record on wages, workplace safety and climate change action – all areas where Amazon employees have pressed the company to do more.
He shared the company’s successes in a banner year: Amazon Prime subscribers now number at more than 200 million worldwide. That’s up from 150 million worldwide, the last figure Amazon released in January 2020.
Bezos closed his note with a reference to his original 1997 shareholder letter, which would become a yearly touchstone for the company. “To all of you: be kind, be original, create more than you consume, and never, never, never let the universe smooth you into your surroundings. It remains Day 1.”