Amazon Hijacks Delta Exec as New CFO

Leading online retailer Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) has extended its string of key executive appointments by installing a former Delta Airlines executive as its new chief financial officer.

The Seattle, Washington-based book and music retailer named Warren C. Jenson to the post. He replaces Joy Covey, who was appointed as the company’s chief strategy officer in April.

Jenson was executive vice-president and CFO at Delta, the nation’s third-largest airline. Prior to his stint at Delta, he was CFO at NBC, where he was involved in some of the network’s Internet acquisitions and strategic alliances.

“This is a major coup for Amazon.com,” said the company’s CEO, Joseph Galli. “Warren brings an unbeatable combination of financial savvy, Fortune 500 experience and a passion for customers. He is an invaluable addition who will help to ensure our success as we grow.”

A Piece of the Puzzle

Amazon has been doing a lot of things right these days, and has reason to be proud of its recognition as the Web’s leading retailer. Yet, despite recently drawing its 10 millionth customer and booking 1999 second quarter revenues of $314 million (US$) — up 171 percent over 1998 figures — the company continues to lose money.

Amazon reported a pro-forma second quarter loss of $67 million, up from nearly $13 million in the corresponding quarter of 1998. As the company points out in its reporting statement, the 1999 second quarter loss figure represents 21 percent of sales, up from the 11 percent figure for 1998. That’s an alarming sign and surely a warning signal for company executives.

Jenson now stands a rung or two under Galli on the Amazon executive ladder. Galli was appointed as CEO in June after company’s founder Jeff Bezos decided that Amazon had become too big a ship for one captain to steer.

Formerly an executive with Black & Decker, Galli has been joined at the conference table by some other key Amazon appointments of late.

Last week, the company announced the appointment of Jeffery Wilke as vice-president-general manager of operations. In May the company hired a new VP of customer service. In July it appointed a new VP of human resources and strategic growth and a new VP of finance and chief accounting officer.

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