After much speculation about who would succeed Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy when he steps into the Amazon CEO role, the company surprised industry watchers with the announcement that the new head of the cloud computing giant would come from the outside.

In a letter to Amazon employees, Jassy said Adam Selipsky, currently CEO of business intelligence vendor Tableau Software will join the company in May. Jassy will work with him for several weeks on the transition, expecting to himself take on the Amazon CEO role in Q3 2021.

Seplisky may be coming from the outside, after having run Tableau since 2016, but he is no stranger to Amazon. Seplisky joined AWS as one of the fledgling unit’s first vice presidents. He went on to oversee the behemoth’s Sales, Marketing and Support for eleven years before departing for Tableau.

Jassy touted his credentials, noting the value of Tableau quadrupled in “just a few years.” Salesforce acquired the company in 2019 for $15.7 billion, retaining Seplisky as CEO of the unit and naming him to the Salesforce Executive Leadership team.

The transition comes at an interesting time in AWS’ history. While the IaaS powerhouse dominates the cloud with a $51 billion revenue run rate that is growing a 28% year over year growth rate according to its most recent earnings disclosure, the pressure is mounting as Microsoft Azure is hitting its stride and picking up sales momentum in cloud.

Prior to the announcement, the expectation was that Amazon would draw from within. Matt Garman, AWS vice president of sales and marketing and an engineer who oversaw the company’s flagship EC2 on-demand compute service for several years, was frequently mentioned as a likely chief for the unit.

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By GlobalData

Observers noted his deep knowledge of the AWS platform and its operating model. However, a clearly growth minded Amazon went in a different direction.