Skip to main content

Originally published September 3, 2014 at 11:59 AM | Page modified September 4, 2014 at 6:34 AM

  • Share:
  • Comments
  • Print

Amazon CFO Szkutak to retire next June

Brian Olsavsky, a finance executive in the company’s consumer business, will replace Szkutak.

Seattle Times business reporter

advertising Chief Financial Officer Thomas Szkutak plans to retire next June, ending a more than 12-year run as the online retailer’s top finance executive.

Brian Olsavsky, vice president of finance for Amazon’s global consumer business, will succeed Szkutak.

During Szkutak’s tenure as CFO, Amazon has grown into a dominant tech and retail brand, entering new markets such as making mobile devices and offering corporate-computing services in addition to emerging as the largest online retailer in the world. Throughout, shareholders have largely given Szkutak and Amazon a pass on generating profits, as long as the company has been able to increase revenue sizably.

Since the beginning of the year, though, investors have become restive about Amazon’s scant profits, as sales have begun to taper. The company’s shares are off nearly 17 percent since hitting a high of $407.05 in January.

Amazon’s stock closed at $339 Wednesday, down $3.38, after the company announced the move.

“Tom’s impact over the past 12 years is evident in every part of our business,” Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “Under Tom’s stewardship, customers have benefited from category expansion and geographical expansion, along with amazing new businesses like AWS and Kindle.”

Like most Amazon executives, Szkutak rarely has offered details beyond what securities regulations require. At the annual shareholder meeting in May, Bezos told a shareholder who asked about the company’s penchant for secrecy: “We talk when we have something to say.” It’s an approach that Szkutak followed in investor relations.

The company, for example, doesn’t participate in the myriad investor conferences at which many other CFOs make presentations. And Szkutak’s quarterly conference calls with analysts, while cordial, are often notable for their opaqueness.

An Amazon spokesman said neither Szkutak, 53, nor Olsavsky, 51, was available to comment. In a statement, Szkutak said he plans to spend “more time with my family and [on] other outside interests.”

Like many of the long-tenured Amazon executives, Szkutak has amassed a fortune in Amazon stock. According to the company’s latest proxy statement, filed in April, Szkutak is sitting on $16 million in Amazon stock.

What’s more, by the time he retires next June, he’ll receive as many as 42,455 shares through restricted stock unit awards that would be worth $14.4 million at Amazon’s current share price.

For the past three years, Szkutak has had an annual salary of $160,000.

Jay Greene: 206-464-2231 or Twitter @greene

Four weeks for 99 cents of unlimited digital access to The Seattle Times. Try it now!

Also in Business & Technology

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

 Subscribe today!

Subscribe today!

99¢ for four weeks of unlimited digital access.



The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►