Jassy brings back former lieutenant to run Amazon cloud division

Amazon’s new boss Andy Jassy has lured back one of the company’s former executives to replace him as head of its cloud computing division, AWS, when he steps up to replace Jeff Bezos later this year.

Adam Selipsky will rejoin the company after five years away running Tableau, a data analysis and visualisation software company that was acquired by Salesforce in 2019 in a deal worth $15.7bn.

The 54-year-old had previously worked with Jassy at AWS for 11 years, in sales, marketing and support, until joining Tableau in 2016.

In February, Bezos announced he would move to become the ecommerce group’s executive chair, distanced from day-to-day operations, by this year’s third quarter. Jassy would leave the cloud computing division he helped create to take on the top job.

Selipsky’s hiring came as a surprise to Wall Street analysts and many Amazon employees, who had predicted Jassy’s replacement would be found internally.

In an email to AWS staff on Tuesday, Jassy said Selipsky was “not a new face” to AWS.

“Adam brings strong judgment, customer obsession, team building, demand generation, and CEO experience to an already very strong AWS leadership team,” Jassy wrote. “And, having been in such a senior role at AWS for 11 years, he knows our culture and business well.”

The appointment comes during a time of leadership upheaval at the company, as longtime Bezos lieutenants move on. Jeff Wilke, former head of worldwide consumer, retired earlier this year. Jeff Blackburn, senior vice-president, left after 22 years at the company to go into venture capital.

Amazon said Selipsky would join on May 17, working alongside Jassy as the company transitions to its new leadership.

Selipsky joins AWS, the market leader in cloud computing, as it faces intense competition with Microsoft and, to a lesser extent, Google. The division was responsible for almost 60 per cent of Amazon’s total operating income last year.

In a short statement, Tableau acknowledged Selipsky was leaving “to pursue an opportunity outside of the company”.

Salesforce said current head of product development Mark Nelson would be promoted to president and chief executive of Tableau.

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