Bezos health scare draws traders’ attention to Amazon succession plan

“When a kidney stone dropped into Jeff Bezos’s ureter while he was touring the Galapagos Islands by boat on New Year’s Day, his discomfort triggered an emergency airlift from the bay where he was cruising to the airport where his private plane was waiting to whisk him out of there,” Roger Kay reports for Forbes.

“Kidney stones are no fun. Their characterization as painful on the order of childbirth for men is accurate. I know. I’ve had two, 23 years apart,” Kay reports. “But they’re usually not life threatening.”

“Nonetheless, Bezos’s health scare reminded traders on Wall Street that they didn’t know much about what a post-Bezos would look like. The company has never said anything about its succession plan,” Kay reports. “But looking more closely at the company, it has in place a strong management team (with 11 senior vice presidents), a solid board (with senior representatives from Madrona Venture Group, Kleiner Perkins, Electronic Arts, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), a clear culture, and a number of potential candidates for the top spot.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Déjà vu.

Would that Steve had only a kidney stone. Fate twists none crueler.


  1. kidney stones? Apple is DOOOMED!
    oh wait, it’s about Amazon. so:
    “But looking more closely at the company, it has in place a strong management team, a solid board, a clear culture, and a number of potential candidates for the top spot.”

  2. It’s curious how different companies’ succession plans are viewed by Wall Street.

    Apple clearly had a succession plan for Steve Jobs, but because it wasn’t made public, commentators had a field day. As it happens, Tim Cook had been selected all along and has proved to be well suited to the challenge.

    Microsoft either doesn’t have a succession plan, or the chosen one turned down the job when offered, but either way there is no announcement of a successor in the six months since Ballmer announced he was going, but commentators don’t seem too agitated about it.

    Now that Bezos has a painful, but non-life threatening condition, Wall Street is alarmed about the absence of a publicly announced successor for him.

  3. Remember that Wall Street runs on fear, greed and sentiment. This is a case of fear, as it was with the health of Steve Jobs.

    When a company is singled out for attention like select celebrities are by tabloids, any twitch, however slight, rumored or imagined, can cause apoplectic reactions by Wall Street. It is especially so when a company is the reflection of a dynamic leader like Jeff Bezos.

    He might be an Apple competitor, but Amazon is also a very large sales outlet for Apple. To his credit, Jeff Bezos is a brilliant man, responsible for establishing the viability of commerce as we know it, and changing the face of retail merchandising. There are but few people for which I would wish kidney stones, and I hope Mr. Bezos, despite his being an Apple competitor, can be back on his feet soon.

  4. As an urologist it is ironic that Steve Jobs went to the hospital and had a CT scan in 2003 because of a kidney stone and was incidentally found to have a pancreatic cancer. If only he had undergone treatment as his doctors recommended rather than waiting almost a year before treatment. He would surely be alive today.

    1. Reports are that that thin section CT images from a Renal Stone scan discovered his neuroendocrine tumor and that a CT directed biopsy confirmed the tumor and the type. Shortly after he would have been informed of the results and told of the need for surgical intervention in a timely manner.

      That Steve Jobs did himself no favors by spending 6 months praying, fasting and whatever is true. That having the Whipple Procedure when the neoplasm was found is no guarantee he would be alive today. Peer reviewed science (Medicine) beats prayer- the graveyards are full of people who put their faith in the/a/some spook(s) in the sky.

      The Whipple is an amazingly complicated surgery and the potential for complications is very high. Most people would not have waited 6 months, but few would just say go ahead when informed of the risks associated with the procedure.

      It is fair to say he did himself no favors regarding the diagnosis and delay of treatment by MDs. It is a leap of faith to say he would be with us still.

      I am a Radiologic Technologist and have been involved with the types of scans involved with this kind of treatment from diagnosis to biopsy to post op to interval follow up. Each patient has to make their own decisions and Steve Jobs bet on the wrong horse.

      Sad, but true.

      1. No doubt yo hare correct. He had his CT scan in October 2003 and had his surgery July 31 2004. He waited almost a full year and not 6 months which makes a huge difference in terms of metastasis which eventually killed Steve Jobs.

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