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Adam Selipsky. Photo by Tableau

The Briefing: Amazon’s Unexpected AWS Choice

Photo: Adam Selipsky. Photo by Tableau

Amazon surprised the enterprise software industry with its choice of Adam Selipsky, chief of Salesforce’s Tableau unit, to succeed Andy Jassy as CEO of the cloud unit. Selipsky is a onetime lieutenant to Jassy, who is moving upstairs to Jeff Bezos’ job. So he has the experience for the role. But Selipsky had been seen as a possible contender to succeed Marc Benioff as Salesforce CEO—Benioff even mentioned him last year as an example of his strong leadership team. So Selipsky wasn’t on the radar of outside observers for the AWS job.

Still, Selipsky is a smart hire. In his five years running Tableau Software, which he jumped to after leaving AWS, Selipsky reinvented the analytics software business as a subscription-based service. Tableau was independent and publicly traded when Selipsky arrived. But he sold it to Salesforce in 2019 for $15 billion, a 40% increase on its market capitalization a few years before. He’ll need all that experience to keep AWS humming, particularly as the growth rate at the cloud industry leader has lately slowed a bit.

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