Amazon CEO Bezos, wife of 25 years to divorce
Analysts: Split unlikely to affect retail giant
Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos says that he and his wife, MacKenzie, are divorcing after 25 years of marriage.
“We want to make people aware of a development in our lives,” the couple said in a post on Bezos’ Twitter account Wednesday. “As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends.”
The carefully worded announcement suggests a cordial divorce and one that is unlikely to disrupt or affect Amazon, currently the world’s most valuable company, at $810 billion just ahead of Microsoft ($789 billion), according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The couple met at management investment firm D.E. Shaw in New York City and married in 1993, six months after MacKenzie asked him out to lunch, according to a Business Insider profile of their marriage.
A year later, they moved to Seattle to found Amazon, where she became an accountant and one of the first employees for the then-online bookseller. Until five years ago, she dropped Bezos off at work in their Honda after they took their four kids to school.
Since then, Bezos has become the world’s richest man, supplanting Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Forbes’ annual list of the 400 richest Americans three months ago, with his net worth rising to $160 billion, up from $81.5 billion a year ago.
MacKenzie Bezos became a novelist, winning an American Book Award for her 2005 debut novel “The Testing of Luther Albright.” Subsequently, she released the book “Traps” in 2013.
It’s unclear whether the couple had a prenuptial agreement. But that is unlikely, says Stuart Slotnick, chairman of the matrimonial department of law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in New York City.
“People get prenuptial agreements when they have assets to protect,” Slotnick said. “In this case, they had no real assets vis à vis Amazon because when they got married Amazon did not exist.”
That doesn’t mean the separating couple have not come to an arrangement, he says. In fact, the statement issued by is “devoid of emotion,” Slotnick said, suggesting “they might already have an agreement ... (and) be done essentially.”
Whatever the agreement, it’s unlikely to disrupt Amazon’s operations, as that would be counterproductive to an amicable separation, he said. “There would be no reason that the company would be affected by this divorce,” Slotnick said.
Crisis management expert Juda Engelmayer said the split “will be about money, and it’s not going to be about control of the company.”
“I’ve dealt with corporate divorces when there was vindictiveness and bitterness involved. This doesn’t seem that way,” said Engelmayer, president of HeraldPR, a New York public relations firm.
Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, shown in February 2017, have four children.