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Amazon Former Executive Adam Selipsky to Return to AWS as New Head Replacing Andy Jassy

Amazon has appointed Adam Selipsky, current CEO of Salesforce, to run its Amazon Web Services division. Andy Jassy, currently the head of AWS and the one chosen to replace Jeff Bezos as the head of all of Amazon, emailed employees of the company.

The hiring of Selipsky was first reported by CNBC. It published a memo Andy Jassy sent to Amazon employees announcing the news. Amazon later confirmed the news in a blog post.

Selipsky initially joined Amazon in 2005, a year before the company introduced EC2 and the S3 storage service. Selipsky worked at AWS for more than 10 years, rising to the rank of vice president of sales and marketing that saw him overseeing the unit’s sales, marketing, technical support, and customer service, before joining the startup Tableau, which is now a part of Salesforce. Selipsky left Amazon in 2016 to become the CEO of Tableau.

Salesforce, the cloud computing giant acquired Tableau for USD 15.7 billion deal in 2019. Following the acquisition, Selipsky has been part of Salesforce’s executive leadership team. Selipsky, 54, has been CEO of Tableau since 2016, guiding the company through a reboot of its data visualization software business and its USD 15.3 billion sale to Salesforce.com in 2019.

Andy Jassy chose a former colleague and someone with a great track record helping to push a midsized software company towards a USD 15 billion acquisition as the best choice to replace him to run AWS. Selipsky will rejoin Amazon in May on May 17 and take on the AWS CEO role. Selipsky and Jassy will be transitioning together into their new roles. Andy Jassy will replace Jeff Bezos as Amazon CEO as Bezos takes up the role of executive chairman of the board in the third quarter of this year.

After the new role, Selipsky will become the most visible person in the growing category, perhaps second only to Jassy.

Andy Jassy who was running Amazon’s cloud business for the past 15 years wrote in the memo, “Adam Selipsky will bring team building, strong judgment, customer obsession, demand generation, and CEO experience to a strong AWS leadership team. Having been in such a senior position at AWS for 11 years, he knows our culture and business well.”

There were speculations as to whether Amazon would promote an existing AWS executive to take over Jassy’s role. Matt Garman, who was promoted to the top sales role last year, and Peter DeSantis, the general manager of AWS’s EC2 virtual-computing service, were seen as potential candidates to become Jassy’s successor. Adam Selipsky is one of the people several insiders had identified as the most relevant successor to Jassy.

The role Selipsky held before leaving Amazon was vacant for years. Last year AWS chose executive Matt Garman to take over the position.

Selipsky and Jassy were frequent travel companions, whether it was for attending meetings with important customers or site visits to check on the company’s outposts around the world.

Matt McIlwain, a managing director with Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group who has tracked Amazon’s rise said, “It’s the right choice. There are some amazing people in the AWS executive team, but there is nobody ready yet to take on that role.”

Jassy also mentioned in the memo, “With a USD 51 billion revenue run rate growing 28 percent (on-year), AWS is still in the very early stages of what’s possible.”

Jassy further noted, “At present less than 5 percent of the global IT spend is in the cloud. That is substantially going to change in the coming years. We have a lot more to do for customers, and now we have a strong leadership team to make it happen.”

AWS reported USD 45 billion in 2020 sales. AWS is responsible for pioneering the business of selling rented computing power and software services. AWS generates most of Amazon’s operating income.

Amazon rules the public cloud infrastructure market. Companies use public cloud infrastructure to run internal and external applications, a modern alternative to rely on in-house servers, storage, and networking equipment. In 2019 industry research firm Gartner estimated that Amazon had 45 percent of the IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) market,  which is more than any other company, including Microsoft and Google.

As Adam Selipsky leaves his old position Mark Nelson, who joined Tableau as an executive vice president of product development in 2018 from SAP-owned expense-management service Concur, where he had been technology chief, will become the new head of Tableau, a Salesforce spokesperson said. Nelson starts the new job immediately.

Tableau experienced significant success during Adam Selipsky’s time as CEO — the value of the company quadrupled in just a few years, Tableau transitioned through a fundamental business model change from perpetual licensing to subscription licensing, and the company was finally acquired by Salesforce in 2019.

 

 

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