The longtime bearer of Amazon financial news will retire next year. Amazon issued a press release announcing Thomas J. Szkutak, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will retire from the company in June 2015. The CFO said he looked forward to spending more time with his family and other outside interests.
Szkutak handles all of Amazon quarterly conference calls, reporting revenue, expenses, profits (sometimes losses) and all the other metrics Wall Street analysts are hungry for, at least those that Amazon is willing to provide.
CEO Jeff Bezos no longer participates in the calls, leaving Szkutak on his own to politely but firmly decline to get into the kinds of specifics analysts look for to get a better handle on Amazon’s performance and prospects. Favorite phrases include:
“I can’t really give you a lot of color on that.”
“It’s very early, but we’re extremely pleased with what we see.”
“The team has done a fantastic job.”
“We’re continuing to invest on behalf of customers.”
And of course a favorite Amazon phrase, “We remain heads down focused.”
Szkutak oversees the controller, treasury, investor relations, tax, internal audit and facilities functions as well as financial management of Amazon’s business units. He and his named successor, Brian T. Olsavsky, both joined Amazon in 2002. Olsavsky is Vice President of Finance for the company’s global consumer business.
The company said the two men would work together to conduct a seamless transition of CFO responsibilities over the next 10 months.
In the announcement, Jeff Bezos said, “Tom’s impact over the past 12 years is evident in every part of our business. Under Tom’s stewardship, customers have benefitted from category expansion and geographical expansion, along with amazing new businesses like AWS 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.”
Bloomberg noted that Amazon had granted Szkutak, aged 53, compensation totaling almost $15.6 million in the past 5 years, including $14.9 million in stock awards.