AWS’ New CEO Garman Will ‘Crush It’; Partners Shocked At Selipsky’s Exit

In a blockbuster move today, AWS CEO Adam Selipsky unveiled he is leaving the company on June 3, being replaced by longtime AWS executive Matt Garman.

Some partners believe Amazon Web Services’ newly announced CEO, Matt Garman, will elevate AWS even further following the sudden departure of Adam Selipsky today after 15 years with the cloud giant.

“Matt Garman is going to crush it,” said Justin Copie, CEO of top AWS partner Innovative Solutions.

“Matt is a remarkable sales leader and he understands where customers are going to buy. As CEO, that is just such a critical role because nothing happens until something is sold,” Copie said. “If you have somebody at the helm who realizes that customers are going to be buying differently in the future, that customers value certain things being sold now, that the product stack fits correctly in a certain way, Matt can make really good decisions for AWS to continue to grow, certainly in the AI space as well as evolve the compute business.”

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Garman (pictured) is an 18-year AWS veteran who first joined Amazon as a software development product manager for EC2 in 2006, when the Seattle-based cloud company was first formed.

He worked his way up the ranks at AWS, including in roles like vice president of AWS Compute Services, before being appointed senior vice president of AWS sales, marketing and global services in 2020.

Garman will officially become AWS’ new CEO on June 3 when Selipsky steps down.

“Truthfully, it’s a really good thing for customers and I think it’s a really good thing for partners,” said Copie. “We look forward to his leadership and belief in the partner-first model [AWS partner leader] Ruba Borno and her team have built-on every day. It’s simple: this [CEO transition] will lead to even more outcomes for customers.”

Partners Shocked With Adam Selipsky’s Sudden Exit

Adam Selipsky first joined AWS during its inception in 2005 as vice president of worldwide marketing, sales and support. He worked at AWS for 11 years before leaving to become the CEO at Tableau Software in 2016. Selipsky was rehired by AWS in 2021 as its new CEO to replace Andy Jassy who was appointed CEO of parent company Amazon.

Terry Richardson, chief revenue officer at Portsmouth, N.H.-based managed services provider Blue Mantis, told CRN that he was “surprised” to learn about Selipsky’s resignation and is curious about where he may go next since there are “not a lot of opportunities bigger than AWS.”

“I think the growth and expansion in services and capabilities that occurred under his leadership were nothing short of impressive,” said Richardson, adding that Selipsky helped AWS keep its status as “a bellwether of public cloud companies” by “recognizing opportunities and trends within key vertical industries.”

Ethan Simmons, managing partner of Norwood, Mass.-based PTP, a life sciences AWS partner, was also shocked at Selipsky’s sudden departure.

“I was at a meeting in Seattle with Adam and other AWS leaders in March and you got the sense Adam was all in on AWS and focused on building the AWS Partner community. Partners were supportive of his efforts,” said Simmons. “I know we will all be very interested in learning more about the reason for the sudden change and what the direction of AWS will be like under Matt Garman.”

Partners Weigh-In On Selipsky’s AWS Legacy

Over his three years as leader of AWS, Selipsky drove quarterly sales increases and spearheaded AWS’ AI efforts.

AWS is now at a historic $100 billion annual run rate after growing sales by 17 percent year over year in Q1 2024 to $25 billion.

“Adam Selipsky’s vision for the business is what helped AWS achieve everything it has to date,” said Innovative’s CEO Copie.

Blue Mantis Richardson said that Selipsky “pushed to make AWS a popular choice among all customer segments, and clearly carved out a role for partners, systems integrators [and] solution providers to play in.”

As for what he expects from AWS’ incoming CEO Garman, Richardson said he would like to see from Garman “continued clarity of direction” with respect to the way that the company is “thinking about route-to-market as it relates to broadly defined channel partners across the ecosystem.”

PTP’s Simmons said Selipsky has “brought in channel-focused leaders and expanded the role of Distribution” in the AWS ecosystem.

“AWS is still the dominant cloud provider, and he has navigated competitive threats from GCP and Azure while making key investments in AI that will help AWS stay ahead of the competition for years to come,” said Simmons.

Matt Garman: ‘I Am More Optimistic Than I have Ever Been’

Garman, for his part, said he’s been fortunate to get to work on many different aspects of AWS businesses over the past 18 years.

“I am more optimistic than I have ever been for the potential for innovation and growth ahead of us, and I look forward helping us move faster, invent more, and operate as one team to help our customers,” said Garman in a blog post today.

“For me, AWS is much more than just a business. We are a team of missionaries working passionately to help make our customers’ lives and businesses better every day,” Garman said. “It has been a privilege to work alongside all of you for the past 18 years, and I am humbled for the opportunity to continue to do so in this new broader role. I’m excited to get started!”