Horrible Boss to Many, Jeff Bezos Paid $800K to Private Preschool Exec

While Amazon chief Jeff Bezos lives in bad boss infamy, he makes it rain at his weirdo experimental kiddie school

You may know Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as the second richest man in the world, forever behind Twitter lord Elon Musk, as well as a union-buster who’s been accused of abusive management practices time after time after time, but if you’re one of a handful of people who run his tiny, experimental preschool, the cheap goods baron is reportedly quite the generous bossman.

According to tax documents seen by Bloomberg, Bezos paid a former Amazon executive more than $800,000 to manage his Des Moines, Washington Bezos Academy, which describes itself as “building a network of tuition-free, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.”

Bloomberg reports that the network had only 13 students in just one location in 2021, and that Bezos paid Amazon crony Michael George the princely sum of $800,452 to pilot it that year, plus another $28,000 in benefits, according the annual tax form filed by Bezos’s nonprofit and analyzed by Bloomberg. George received similar compensation in 2020, during most of which there were no schools open at all.

George is currently president of the academy—whose motto is “Light every fire”—and according to its website, “Mike has spent his career building and leading innovative businesses and services that change how we shop, live, and work.” Mike put in more than two decades at Amazon, “where he led customer-loved businesses, including the Echo, Alexa, and Appstore.”

Mike’s favorite children’s book, his bio states, is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

(Courtesy, Bezos Academy)

Bloomberg points out that Harvard University’s president, Lawrence Bacow, had a base salary of $912,565 in 2021.

“You’d have to compare yourself to higher education organizations to get to that kind of comp level,” Thomas Bailey, senior compensation consultant at Total Compensation Solutions, told the outlet.

First of all, some might say that any one preschooler is worth more than any five Harvard students—or any ten Harvard grads—and therefore the comparison is logically meaningless. Second, no one is saying Bezos should not pay his almost chillingly, equally bald compadre such a handsome fortune in pursuit of academic excellence, but it could be a good idea to share some of that largesse with the thousands and thousands of other workers who say that the company does them wrong at nearly every turn.

Other people who’ll be getting tons of Bezos-cash while not suffering in his warehouses and trucks are the untold number of people who will get some piece of his fortune in the form of charity now that he finally joined the latest billionaire fad of promising to give it all away while they’re still alive.

Sadly, Bezos is a perennial runner-up even there, as Mr. Congeniality’s ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, had already given billions to charity after splitting with Bezos, and long before he finally claimed he’d gotten his own giving in gear with his billionaire colleagues. Plus, almost immediately after Bezos publicly proclaimed his generosity, it somehow came out that Scott had parted with another $2 billion in just the last seven months.

As Bloomberg notes, the academy’s board approved George’s salary after commissioning a study from an independent firm, which found that his compensation “falls within a reasonable range of competitive market practices.”

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.