Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky will return to Amazon Web Services as CEO, replacing Andy Jassy

Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky is departing and will join Amazon Web Services as its new CEO. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

Tableau Software CEO Adam Selipsky will be the new CEO of Amazon Web Services, replacing Andy Jassy, who will take over as Amazons CEO later this year.

Selipsky is a familiar face at Amazon as a former AWS executive who spent 11 years at the Seattle-based tech giant. He left to join Tableau as CEO in 2016.

Selipsky, 54, will replace Jassy, who in February was named to succeed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as CEO in the third quarter of this year. Bezos will remain as executive chairman. Selipsky and Jassy worked closely when Selipsky was at AWS as its vice president of marketing, sales, and support.

Jassy led AWS since the cloud computing business launched in 2006. AWS has grown into a $45 billion business and a market leader that helps boost Amazons profits and allows the company to invest heavily in other areas.

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

The news was first reported by CNBC.

Seattle angel investor and cloud technology guru Charles Fitzgerald said the hire makes a lot of sense.

It would have been extremely difficult to bring in an outsider in to run AWS, said Fitzgerald, who runs the Cloud City Meetup and writes at Platformonomics. Selipsky is an AWS insider with some recent outside seasoning.

Some had speculated that Matt Garman was in line for the top job at AWS, but with Selipsky taking on the role it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Garman. Garman, a member of Amazons senior leadership team or S-team, has worked at AWS for 14 years and currently runs its sales and marketing efforts.

And just as Jassy has big shoes to fill in taking over from Bezos, Selipsky will have equally large shoes to fill in running a cloud organization that has Jassys fingerprints all over it.

The good news is that Selipsky and Jassy have worked so closely together, which led Seattle venture capitalist and close Amazon watcher Matt McIlwain to call this the perfect move.

Hes got the trust and got the history and knows the domain, because he helped define it, said McIlwain, who is close with both Jassy and Selipsky. In fact, McIlwain said Jassys biggest challenge as incoming CEO of Amazon was finding his own replacement at AWS.

I think (Jassy) has brilliantly addressed it, and it set him up for greater success the leader of the overall company, said McIlwain.

While leading Tableau, Selipsky helped drive growth for the Seattle data visualization company, which had a market capitalization of around $3 billion when he took over as CEO. Selipsky oversaw the companys acquisition by Salesforce for $15.7 billion in 2019, the second-largest in Salesforce history, and he was instrumental in pivoting the company from a traditional software product to one tied in the cloud.

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, right, with Tableau Software CEO Adam Selipsky at the Tableau Conference in 2019. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)
AWS CEO Andy Jassy at the Space Needle in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

Here is the full memo that Jassy sent to AWS employees:

I want to share that Adam Selipsky will be the next CEO of AWS.

Adam is not a new face to AWS. Back in 2005, Adam was one of the first VPs we hired in AWS, and ran AWSs Sales, Marketing, and Support for 11 years (as well as some other areas like our AWS Platform services for a spell). Adam then became the CEO of Tableau in 2016, and ran Tableau for the last 4.5 years. Tableau experienced significant success during Adams time as CEOthe value of the company quadrupled in just a few years, Tableau transitioned through a fundamental business model change from perpetual licenses to subscription licensing, and the company was eventually acquired by Salesforce in 2019 in one of the largest software acquisitions in history. Following the acquisition, Adam remained the CEO of Tableau and was a member of Salesforces Executive Leadership Team.

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

With a $51B revenue run rate thats growing 28% YoY (these were the Q4 2020 numbers we last publicly shared), its easy to forget that AWS is still in the very early stages of whats possible. Less than 5% of the global IT spend is in the cloud at this point. Thats 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.


P.S. Adam will return to AWS on May 17. We will spend the subsequent several weeks transitioning together before making the change sometime in Q3.

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