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Tableau chief Adam Selipsky to succeed Andy Jassy as CEO of AWS

AWS CEO confirms in an email to staff that Selipsky will be returning to the Amazon fold to lead the cloud company

Tableau chief Adam Selipsky is rejoining Amazon Web Services (AWS) after several years away to succeed Andy Jassy as the public cloud giant’s CEO.

Selipsky originally joined AWS in 2005 and spent 11 years as the company’s vice-president for sales, marketing and support before moving to data visualisation software provider Tableau in 2016.

During Selipsky’s four-and-a-half-year tenure as CEO of Tableau, the value of the business quadrupled, and he also guided the company through its acquisition by cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) giant Salesforce in 2019.

This experience will stand him in good stead when he takes the reins at AWS, said Jassy in an email to staff on 23 March 2021, confirming the appointment. “Adam brings strong judgement, customer obsession, team building, demand generation, and CEO experience to an already very strong AWS leadership team,” he wrote. “And, having been in such a senior role at AWS for 11 years, he knows our culture and business well.”

While AWS is a confirmed $51bn revenue operation, continued Jassy, the company still has a lot of growing to do, and there is still plenty of untapped cloud spend out there that Selipsky will be tasked with pursuing.

“It’s easy to forget that AWS is still in the very early stages of what’s possible,” he wrote. “Less than 5% of the global IT spend is in the cloud at this point.

“That’s going to substantially change in the coming years. We have a lot more to invent for customers, and we have a very strong leadership team and group of builders to go make it happen. Am excited for what lies ahead.”

Jassy is on course to take over as CEO of Amazon.com in the second half of 2021 from company founder Jeff Bezos, who will assume the role of executive chairman at the firm.

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He signed off his email by confirming that Selipsky will rejoin the company on 17 May 2021, and will spend “several weeks” transitioning into his new role before officially becoming CEO “sometime in Q3”.

Nick McQuire, chief of enterprise research at IT market watcher CCS Insight, said the hiring of Selipsky makes a lot of sense, but there will be challenges ahead.

“Few AWS execs have the raw CEO experience of running a hyper-growth technology business,” he said. “Selipsky fits this bill of course, but the fact that he has extensive experience of the AWS “secret sauce” culture as well, makes him an obvious bet.

“However, while he has had immense success in running Tableau and he will be super hungry for a new challenge following his induction into Salesforce, running AWS is a different kettle of fish entirely. He will be tested early, given the enormous change on the horizon in the cloud computing space.

“One of the big challenges Selipsky faces is how well he manages, along with Jassy, the inevitable bumps in the road facing Amazon with issues like anti-trust, workers’ rights and employee activism on the rise.”

McQuire added: “The good news is, as an AWS alumnus, Selipsky will be considered a safe pair of hands, which will reassure customers and help maintain trust in the AWS brand, which is crucial in the light of these issues ahead.”

Next Steps

Mark Nelson named new CEO of Tableau

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