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Adam Selipsky stepping down as head of Amazon Web Services

By Lauren Rosenblatt, The Seattle Times
Published: May 15, 2024, 7:49am

Adam Selipsky is stepping down as head of Amazon’s cloud computing division, one of the most profitable arms of the company and the focal point of its efforts in artificial intelligence.

Matt Garman, senior vice president for Amazon Web Services sales, marketing and global services and an 18-year Amazon veteran, will take over as head of AWS effective June 3, Amazon said Tuesday. Garman was seen as one of the top choices for the role in 2021 when Selipsky first became chief executive of AWS.

Selipsky is leaving to spend more time with his family, “recharge a bit,” reflect and consider his next steps, he said in a blog post Tuesday.

His departure comes at what could be an inflection point for AWS: After months of inflationary pressures slowing growth at AWS, and at least a few rounds of layoffs affecting AWS employees, Amazon executives say AWS growth is picking up again, driven largely by interest in generative AI.

“Leading this amazing team and the AWS business is a big job, and I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished going from a startup to where we are today,” Selipsky wrote in the blog post.

“Given the state of the business and the leadership team, now is an appropriate moment for me to make this transition,” he continued. “Matt and the AWS leadership team are ready for this next big opportunity.”

Selipsky started at AWS in 2005 and spent 11 years working in sales, marketing and support. He left in 2016 to become CEO of Tableau, a Seattle-based software company that offers analytics and data visualization tools. During his time there, Selipsky led Tableau through its acquisition by Salesforce, a $15.7 billion deal that marked one of the largest purchases of a Washington-based company.

Selipsky returned to Amazon in 2021 after Andy Jassy moved from head of AWS to CEO of Amazon, replacing founder Jeff Bezos.

When Selipsky took the reins in 2021, he intended for it to be short-term, Jassy said in Tuesday’s announcement. Selipsky agreed to take on the role knowing he would focus on preparing the “next generation of leadership,” Jassy said.

“I’d like to thank Adam for everything he’s done to lead AWS over the past three years,” Jassy said. “He took over in the middle of the pandemic, which presented a wide array of leadership and business challenges.”

Pointing to new offerings in generative AI services and consistently delivering reliable cloud computing services, Jassy said AWS reached a $100 billion annual revenue run rate in the first quarter this year with year-over-year revenue “accelerating again.”

In the first three months of this year, AWS sales increased 17% to $25 billion, according to the company’s most recent financial results.

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Under Selipsky’s direction, Jassy continued, “the team made the right long-term decision to help customers become more efficient in their spend, even if it meant less short-term revenue for AWS.”

“Adam leaves AWS in a strong position,” Jassy said.

Selipsky’s departure marks yet another leadership change in the years since Jassy took over as head of Amazon.

Dave Clark, head of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business, stepped down in 2022 after more than 20 years with the company and was replaced by Doug Herrington, an Amazon veteran who helped launch Amazon Fresh and lead the company’s North American consumer business. Amazon devices chief Dave Limp left last August to lead Blue Origin, Bezos’ rocket company. At Amazon, Limp was replaced by former Microsoft product chief Panos Panay.

Garman, who is set to take over AWS next month, started at Amazon as an intern in 2005 and full-time employee in 2006 as one of the first AWS product managers.

Jassy said Tuesday that Garman has an “unusually strong set of skills and experiences for his new role.”

Garman said in his own announcement Tuesday he was “more optimistic than I have ever been” about the future of AWS.

“For me, AWS is much more than just a business,” he said. “We are a team of missionaries working passionately to help make our customers’ lives and businesses better every day.”

Garman said there would be some “organizational adjustments” as part of the transition, and that he planned to host a number of AWS town halls over the next month.

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