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Thomas J. Szkutak, crunching numbers for the e-retailer since 2002, will step down next year.
Perhaps the most famous chief financial officer in the relatively brief history of e-commerce has announced his retirement.
Amazon.com Inc.’s Thomas J. Szkutak, who has held that job since his October 2002 hiring, says he will step down in June 2015. Szkutak served not only as one of the closet lieutenants to CEO Jeff Bezos but also as the voice of the company during its quarterly conference calls, guiding analysts through the retailer’s earnings and expenses while doling out carefully calibrated amounts of information about the plans of Amazon, typically secretive about anything not contained in its financial reports.
Szkutak, who also held the title of senior vice president, earned $160,000 in base salary in 2013. The previous year, thanks to stock awards, his total compensation topped $8.4 million, according to Amazon financial filings.
Before Amazon, Szkutak worked for laboratory and biotechnology supplier Fisher Scientific International in financial and business positions, the e-retailer says. Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
Joining Amazon seven years after its launch, Szkutak crunched the numbers for the web-only mass merchant as it, became more international; drew in more marketplace sales; strove to boost its appeal to consumers by offering more shipping options, including Prime two-day shipping and streamed content; and expanded its Amazon Web Services cloud computing service.
Szkutak’s tenure spans a period of significant growth for the retailer. Amazon in 2008 took in web sales of some $19.17 billion, an amount that had ballooned to nearly $67.86 billion in 2013, according to data available at Top500Guide.com—20.3% more than in 2012. When Szkutak joined Amazon, its stock was trading at less than $50 a share; today it is more than $330 per share, though the e-retailer recently missed its second quarter earnings estimates and posted a $126 million net loss. Amazon continues to increase spending on technology, content and fulfillment.
“Tom’s impact over the past 12 years is evident in every part of our business,” Bezos says. “Under Tom’s stewardship, customers have benefitted from category expansion and geographical expansion, along with amazing new businesses like [Amazon Web Services] and Kindle. The day Tom joined the company was a very lucky one for Amazon’s shareowners and customers and for all of us who’ve had the pleasure and fun of getting to work with him. We wish Tom and his family all the best in their next round of adventures.”
Szkutak will guide his successor, Brian T. Olsavsky, Amazon’s current vice president of finance, in the months leading to the retirement, the e-retailer says. “It’s been a privilege for me to work with so many talented people who are continually inventing on behalf of customers, and now I look forward to spending more time with my family and other outside interests,” Szkutak says. “I’ve worked very closely with Brian Olsavsky over the past 12 years and have seen firsthand how talented he is, and I have confidence that he will be a great CFO for Amazon.com.”