(New throughout, adds background, analyst comment)
By Anya George Tharakan and Deepa Seetharaman
Sept 3 Amazon.com Inc's finance chief
plans to step down next summer after more than a dozen years at
the post, the e-commerce company said on Wednesday, at a time
when more investors have been complaining about skimpy profits
and high spending.
Chief Financial Officer Thomas Szkutak, 53, will retire in
June 2015 and be succeeded by Brian Olsavsky, vice president of
finance for global consumer business, Amazon said.
The transition comes at a delicate time for Amazon. The
Seattle-based company last week announced its largest-ever deal
to buy live-streaming gaming network Twitch Interactive for $970
million cash, beating out a rival bid from Google Inc.
The acquisition reflects how dramatically Amazon has
expanded during Szkutak's tenure, from pure online retailer to
one with many new business lines including original television
shows, hardware and local services.
"Szkutak and Olsavsky will work together to conduct a
seamless transition of CFO responsibilities over the next 10
months," Amazon said in a statement.
Amazon shares are down 15 percent so far this year, as some
investors and analysts have worried about Chief Executive Jeff
Bezos' decisions to spend big on new projects.
The company also faces heightened competition from Alibaba
Group Holding Ltd, which handles more e-commerce
than Amazon and eBay Inc combined in China and plans to
make its market debut this month.
"Let's hope that the new guy talks slower and is willing to
give us more information," Wedbush Securities analyst Michael
Pachter said. He said he and other analysts have never spoken to
Szkutak, who joined Amazon as CFO in October 2002.
Pachter said he did not expect big changes from Olsavsky,
who has held many finance roles at Amazon since joining in April
2002, but hoped he would be willing to listen to feedback.
The announcement marks one of the highest-profile executive
changeovers at Amazon. Since 2001, the year before Szkutak
joined the company, Amazon's annual revenue has risen 23-fold.
Szkutak was hired from General Electric Co, where he held a
variety of finance posts. He earned almost $9 million in the
last three years as compensation, most of it in stock awards.
His next steps were not immediately clear. In a statement,
he said he looked forward "to spending more time with my family
and other outside interests." An Amazon spokesman said Szkutak
was not available for an interview.
"Tom's impact over the past 12 years is evident in every
part of our business," 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."
(Additional reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore; Editing by