Meet the 11 execs who left Amazon's 'CEO Factory' and went on to become power players at major enterprise companies like Twilio, Tableau, and Intel (AMZN, CRM, DATA, INTC, SQ, TWLO)


FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon Web Services (AWS) is seen during the 4th annual America Digital Latin American Congress of Business and Technology in Santiago, Chile, September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

  • Amazon has been described as America’s “CEO factory,” given how many former execs go on to run (or help manage) major companies. 
  • Just look at Amazon Web Services, where alumni have gone on to become power players at companies like Tableau, Square, Intel, and Twilio.
  • Business Insider compiled a list of notable former AWS employees who have become power players at other companies.
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A lot of former Amazon employees go on to run other companies — so much so, in fact, that a recent Wall Street Journal article dubbed it America’s “CEO factory.” 

As the Journal suggested there seems to be a demand for chief execs and entrepreneurs who take in the best parts of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ leadership style — without necessarily adopting the harsher parts of Amazon’s legendarily tough culture, which has been described as cutthroat.

For proof, look no further than Amazon Web Services, the company’s market-leading cloud business, which has had a similar impact on the enterprise technology business. AWS alumni can be spotted founding and running companies including Tableau – recently acquired by Salesforce for $15.7 billion – $33 billion payments company Square, and $16 billion cloud communications company Twilio.

Meet 11 former AWS employees who have gone on to become power players in the industry in their own right:

Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky

Former AWS title: Vice president of marketing, sales and support — though Selipsky’s LinkedIn profile describes it as a chief operating officer role.

Adam Selipsky took over as CEO of Seattle-based data visualization software company Tableau in September 2016 and helped the company negotiate a $15.7 billion sale to Salesforce.

Selipsky spent more than a decade building Amazon Web Services, reporting to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Selipsky helped grow the cloud business from its pre-revenue stage into a $10 billion business at the time he left for Tableau, and from fewer than 10 employees to thousands.

Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson

Former AWS title: Technical product manager

Before cofounding and becoming CEO of $16 billion cloud communications company Twilio, Jeff Lawson had a short stint at Amazon, working on what would become AWS.

He worked as a technical product manager at Amazon for about a year and left in November 2005, a few months before the official launch of Amazon Web Services.

Square executive and Intel director Alyssa Henry

Former AWS title: Vice president of AWS Storage Services

Alyssa Henry is now general manager and head of Square’s Seller business unit.

Henry spent more than eight years at AWS, and 12 years at Microsoft before that. Before she left to join Square in 2014, Henry ran AWS storage services including Amazon S3, the first cloud service AWS introduced and part of the same infrastructure used to run the e-commerce operation.

She was recently named to Intel’s board of directors.

Ford Chief Financial Officer and former Snap Chief Financial Officer Tim Stone

Former AWS title: Chief financial officer

Tim Stone left Amazon after 20 years in roles including AWS CFO.

He first went to Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, where he spent less than a year before leaving. Bloomberg reported Stone went behind CEO Evan Spiegel’s back to ask for more money.

Stone joined Ford in April as chief financial officer. 

Smartsheet Chief Product Officer Gene Farrell

Former AWS title: Vice president of AWS enterprise applications and EC2 Windows

Gene Farrell left AWS in June 2017 to take a job at Seattle-area collaboration software company Smartsheet. AWS sued over a noncompete agreement signed by Farrell, but dropped the suit a week later after the companies agreed on undisclosed “temporary restrictions.”

Farrell’s job at AWS was to help run cloud services including desktop-on-demand service Amazon Workspace and communication service Amazon Chime, plus EC2 Windows, a platform for AWS customers to host Microsoft’s flagship operating system in Amazon’s cloud.

Promethean Chief Product Officer Steven Halliwell

Former AWS title: General manager of AWS Commercial Business – West Area

Halliwell spent nearly eight years at Amazon Web Services, most recently as head of customer engagement for the company’s western region and its nation healthcare and life sciences businesses.

In October 2017, he joined education tech company Promethean, where he runs its product organization as chief product officer.

Google Cloud Vice President Philip Moyer

Former AWS title: Global financial services managing director

Philip Moyer left AWS last summer and took a job at Google Cloud as a vice president.

AWS sued, claiming Moyer violated a noncompete agreement with the company and argued the hiring risks Amazon’s confidential information. A federal judge ultimately limited Moyer’s role at Google for the duration of the noncompete agreement.

At AWS, Moyer managed teams who sold to large global financial institutions, independent software ventures and customers in banking, capital markets, insurance and payments. Google hired Moyer to oversee sales to health care and life sciences customers.

Goldman Sachs partner and co-CIO Marco Argenti

Former AWS title: Vice president, internet of things, serverless, mobile, AR/VR.

Marco Argenti spent six years at Amazon Web Services before joining Goldman Sachs in October as a partner and co-chief information officer.

Argenti on Jan 30 sent a memo seen by Business Insider detailing the opportunity he sees for the bank to create a financial cloud.

Argenti was responsible for product and engineering for AWS businesses including augmented and virtual reality, automation, and internet of things (IoT) smart devices.

Lucidworks Chief Product Officer Vivek Sriram

Former AWS title: Principal

Lucidworks Chief Product Officer Vivek Sriram worked for AWS for four years running project management, business development and marketing for Amazon CloudSearch and Amazon Elasticsearch Service.

He’s now the chief product officer of artificial intelligence-powered enterprise search technology company Lucidworks, a role he took on in November after a couple years as the company’s chief marketing officer.

Apptio Chief Product and Technology Officer Scott Chancellor

Former AWS title: General manager and director of AWS Insights.

Scott Chancellor joined Seattle-area technology business management software company Apptio in June after leaving AWS in May and became chief product and technology officer in November. Chancellor and recently helped broker a big partnership between the two companies.

Apptio chose AWS as its preferred cloud service provider, and AWS will offer Apptio’s cloud cost management platform and hybrid business management applications to its customers.

Chancellor spent seven years at AWS, most recently as the head of the AWS Insights suite of products including AWS Budgets and Cost Explorer.

Booz Allen Hamilton Executive Vice President Frank DiGiammarino

Former AWS title: General manager, US state and local government

Frank DiGiammarino was hired by Booz Allen Hamilton in December 2018 run the company’s innovation strategy.

He’s a former adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden and spent four years at AWS including in the company’s government business.