When Amazon announced last month that Jeff Bezos was moving into the executive chairman role, and AWS CEO Andy Jassy would be taking over the entire Amazon operation, speculation began about who would replace Jassy.
People considered a number of internal candidates viable, such as Peter DeSantis, vice president of global infrastructure at AWS and Matt Garman, who is vice president of sales and marketing. Not many would have chosen Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky, but sure enough he is returning home to run the division he left in 2016.
In an email to employees, Jassy wasted no time getting to the point that Selipsky was his choice, saying that the former employee helped launch the division when they hired him in 2005, then spent 11 years helping Jassy build the unit before taking the job at Tableau. Through that lens, the choice makes perfect sense.
"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," Jassy wrote in the email.
Jassy has run AWS since its earliest days, taking it from humble beginnings as a kind of internal experiment on running a storage web service to building a mega division currently on a $51 billion run rate. It is that juggernaut that will be Selipsky's to run, but he seems well-suited for the job.
He is a seasoned executive, and while he's been away from AWS since before it really began to grow into a huge operation, he should still understand the culture well enough to step smoothly into the role. At the same time, he's leaving Tableau, a company he helped transform from a desktop software company into one firmly based in the cloud.
Salesforce bought Tableau in June 2019 for a cool $15.7 billion and Selipsky has remained at the helm since then, but perhaps the lure of running AWS was too great and he decided to take the leap to the new job.
When we wrote a story at the end of last year about Salesforce's deep bench of executive talent, Selipsky was one of the CEOs we pointed at as a possible replacement should CEO and chairman Marc Benioff step down. But with it looking more like president and COO Bret Taylor would be the heir apparent, perhaps Selipsky was ready for a new challenge.
Selipsky will make his return to AWS on May 17th and spend a few weeks with Jassy in a transitional time before taking over the division to run on his own. As Jassy slides into the Amazon CEO role, it's clear the two will continue to work closely together, just as they did for over a decade.