Bezos on how he deals with increased focus on Amazon: 'We deserve to be inspected. Don't take it personally'

  • During Amazon's annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, CEO Jeff Bezos acknowledged the e-commerce giant has come under a lot of scrutiny this year.
  • But the billionaire said he didn't take it too personally, and he seemed open to increased inspection, as he answered shareholder questions.
  • During the meeting, shareholders struck down a proposal to appoint an independent chairman to oversee Bezos.
Jeff Bezos
Rex Curry | Reuters
Jeff Bezos

During Amazon's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, CEO Jeff Bezos acknowledged the e-commerce giant has come under a lot of scrutiny this year.

But the billionaire said he didn't take it too personally, and he seemed open to increased inspection, as he addressed shareholder questions.

"Large entities deserve to be inspected and scrutinized. Inside Amazon we talk about this, I say 'we are a large corporation, we deserve to be inspected,'" Bezos said. "'Don't take it personally.'"

Amazon has faced mounting criticism from President Donald Trump. In March and April the president took to Twitter call out the company for everything from allegedly evading taxes to using the U.S. Postal Service as a personal delivery boy.

Bezos himself has also come under fire for having too much power. In advance of the shareholder meeting, a group of protesters gathered outside to demand an independent chairman of the board be appointed to oversee Bezos' activities as CEO. An activist group called SumOfUs had been planning to fly a plane overhead with a banner reading, "Bezos Needs a Boss."

During the meeting, shareholders struck down a proposal to appoint an independent chairman. The board recommended against that proposal in a proxy statement issued in advance of the meeting.

"We believe that it is important for the Board to continue to determine on a case-by-case basis the most effective leadership structure for the Company, rather than take a rigid approach to board leadership, as called for by the shareholder proposal," the statement said.

Bezos said Amazon's rapid growth from about 30,000 employees in 2010 to around 600,000 today has made flexibility and transparency even more important as the company moves forward.

"We have to conduct ourselves so when we are scrutinized we pass with flying colors," Bezos said.