By the end of 2021, Mark Zuckerberg will be the only one left. As Jeff Bezos transitions away from being the CEO of Amazon later this year, it means when it comes to the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley and Seattle, Zuck will be the last founder who is still in the role of CEO.
Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google/Alphabet all had iconic founders who ran the company for years, but that’s a tough job to keep forever. For one thing, the founders become so wealthy, they often have other ambitions, and there’s no way to continue to invest the energy and time needed to keep a big tech machine humming.
Apple’s Tim Cook took over as CEO when Steve Jobs passed away in 2011. The Apple stock price has ballooned during Cook’s reign, rising from $13.44 10 years ago to an incredible $135 now. Cook has also almost tripled revenue.
Bill Gates stepped away from Amazon permanently in 2014, and Satya Nadella took over. Again, the move has improved Microsoft in many ways, including the stock price that has gone from $36.25 in 2014 to $239.51 this week.
Google’s parent company Alphabet said goodbye to founders Larry Page and Sundar Pichai in 2019, turning over the reigns to Sundar Pichai. The results there have been similar, with Pichai driving the stock price from $1,294 to $1,919.12 in just over one year.
The pressure is on Andy Jassy at Amazon. He has maybe the biggest shoes to fill, and he’ll get his shot to do for Amazon after Jeff Bezos departs what his contemporaries have already made look easy.