The largest public cloud vendor has named its new CEO. Find out more about him and what some partners think.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

March 24, 2021

4 Min Read
Businesswoman surprised at laptop

In a somewhat surprise move, Amazon Web Services has chosen Adam Selipsky, the head of Tableau, as its replacement for Andy Jassy.

Selipsky was not top of mind for most people speculating who would take over as AWS CEO. Recall that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced last month he will leave the company in the third quarter, and that Jassy will succeed him. Since that time, the industry has wondered who would step into Jassy’s shoes.


AWS’ Adam Selipsky

The more obvious choices comprised internal candidates: think, Doug Yeum, AWS channel chief; or Matt Garman, in charge of sales and marketing; or Peter DeSantis, who runs global infrastructure.

Consider, though, that Selipsky is no stranger to AWS, either. He joined the cloud computing company in 2005 and spent 11 years working alongside Jassy. Together they built AWS into the world’s largest public cloud provider. They are said to have an excellent working relationship. Selipsky left AWS in 2016 to take over as CEO of Tableau. In the intervening years, he quadrupled the value of that software vendor, Jassy wrote in a March 23 email to employees.

“Tableau experienced significant success during Adam’s time as CEO,” Jassy wrote.

During that time, “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,” he continued.

Selipsky stayed on to lead Tableau while also serving as a member of Salesforce’s executive leadership team.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in February.

“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.”

Selipksy will assume the CEO role on May 17. He and Jassy will work together for a few weeks as they each transition into their respective jobs. Jassy said to expect even more from AWS with Selipsky at the helm.

“With a $51 billion revenue run rate that’s growing 28% YoY (these were the Q4 2020 numbers we last publicly shared), it’s easy to forget that AWS is still in the very early stages of what’s possible,” he said. “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. [I] am excited for what lies ahead.”

Initial Partner Reactions

The AWS announcement came after Tuesday’s closing bell on Wall Street. That meant most people had signed off for the day. Channel Futures reached out to several contacts to gather reaction from AWS partners; only two responded by the time of publication. Elissa Livingston, senior vice president of growth and strategy at CloudCheckr, was the first to chime in. CloudCheckr is an APN Advanced Technology Partner that sells through the channel. Livingston praised Selipsky’s appointment.

“Adam Selipsky is an incredibly accomplished technology executive that brings unique knowledge and experience in his return to AWS in this new role,” she told Channel Futures. Given his background at AWS and time at Tableau, she added, “I expect to see him consider new ways that AWS can use data to bring insights to its customers to more effectively manage their cloud. Third-party partner applications that support increasingly complex and diverse needs of IT organizations and service providers will be critical to supporting that vision.”

Meantime, Brian Klingbeil, chief strategy officer at Ensono, a hybrid IT provider and premier AWS partner, also hailed the Selipsky choice.

“Selipsky’s return to AWS signals his commitment to the company’s continued success, and it’s a smart move by Amazon for bringing in someone with past experience that can push its cloud business forward,” Klingbeil said. “It will be important to watch Selipsky’s strategic moves to match AWS’ pace with Azure, and even Google Cloud’s upward momentum. Future investments are sure to come as cloud spending is projected to continue to skyrocket.”

Channel Futures will continue to gather partner comment related to the Selipsky news and publish follow-up pieces accordingly.

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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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