Visual analytics software provider Tableau Software on Aug. 22 announced its appointment of Adam Selipsky as president and CEO, effective Sept. 16.
Christian Chabot, Tableau co-founder and current CEO, will continue to serve as chairman of Tableau’s board of directors, the company said.
Selipsky comes to Seattle-based Tableau after more than decade across town at Amazon Web Services (AWS), where he most recently served as vice president of marketing, sales and support and was a key lieutenant to AWS CEO Andy Jassy.
Selipsky joined AWS in 2005. According to his LinkedIn profile, Selipsky helped take AWS from a pre-revenue position to a business with more than $10 billion in revenue while growing the team size from fewer than 10 to thousands. He was a direct report to the CEO and one of two senior executives in place from the launch of AWS until the time of his departure.
“Adam is going to take Tableau to the next level,” Chabot said in a statement. “His experience in making AWS the world’s leading cloud platform, his passion for servicing customers at a global scale and his authentic team player attitude make him an extraordinary fit for Tableau. He is the right person to lead Tableau to the next stage of growth.”
Selipsky’s leadership helped make AWS the leading cloud computing platform. Prior to joining Amazon, Selipsky was a vice president at RealNetworks, another Seattle-based operation, where he headed the company’s video subscription and media player division. He also was a principal at Mercer Management Consulting, a strategy consulting firm. Selipsky holds an A.B. in government and an MBA from Harvard University.
In a statement, Selipsky said, “Tableau has that rare combination of a passionate customer base, leading products, amazingly talented people, dedication to technology innovation and momentum in the market. The company is positioned to become the new world standard in analytics. … As we add capabilities for our customers, deepen our enterprise presence and expand into the cloud, our mission remains unchanged—to help people see and understand their data.”
According to John McAdam, chair of the nominating and governance committee of Tableau’s board of directors, bringing Selipsky aboard will lead Tableau into the next stage of growth. McAdam noted that Tableau pioneered a new age in data analytics by reducing the complexity for customers to make better use of their data, and Selipsky will help the company continue on that road.
However, Tableau is not alone in that quest as competition from established players and startups alike took a toll on Tableau and caused revenue losses over the last year.
Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, called Selipsky’s hiring an “interesting move” for Tableau.
“Despite continuing growth in its customer base, the company has been struggling financially,” King said. “In the view of some folks—including, I expect, some shareholders, Tableau either needed to make a bold move or begin charting an exit strategy by finding an interested buyer. Selipsky’s arrival suggests the company is pursuing the first option and hopes that his experience growing AWS’s business and in engaging with midsize to large enterprise customers will rub off on Tableau. Overall, it looks like a very smart move on Tableau’s part.”
Tableau Software Hires Former AWS Exec as CEO
Meanwhile, in addition to Selipsky’s appointment, Tableau also announced that Chris Stolte, the company’s co-founder and Chief Development Officer, will transition to Technical Advisor and Andrew Beers will take over as Chief Development Officer. In addition, Francois Ajenstat, a long-time leader of the product development team, will assume a new position as Chief Product Officer reporting to Beers.
In a statement, Stolte said Beers has been with Tableau from day one as one of the company’s initial developers. Beers will play a central role in Chabot’s goal of helping to make Tableau “the standard for how people work with data.”
Selipsky will be key to that strategy as well, as he has experience in helping to cut through complexity to reach both developers and end users. At AWS, Selipsky maintained a focus on the developer community, vigorously defending the company against criticism that AWS did not “get” developers.
“It’s ironic that we still hear this because, particularly in the early years of AWS, the majority of the usage of the platform and the vast majority of what we were known for, was being used by fast-growing startups,” Selipsky told eWEEK in an interview from his earlier AWS days. “And fast-growing startups tend to be by developers, or at least to be a very high concentration of developers. So I think it is indisputably true that developers have created a very significant amount of the growth that AWS has seen since the very start.”
Selipsky also noted that AWS had actually produced a fair amount of tooling, including full SDKs and toolsets supporting multiple languages ranging from Java, Ruby to PHP to .NET, and others as well.
Last week, Tableau launched the latest edition of its cloud-based business intelligence package, which the company said offers faster and more complete analytics than the previous version.
Tableau 10 features a refreshed design and user interface, new analytical and mobile enhancements, new options for preparing data and a subset of new enterprise capabilities, the company said.
The enterprise-grade, cloud business intelligence package produces analytics in near-real time. More than 3,000 customer accounts around the world use it, including large and small businesses, nonprofit groups and educational institutions, the company said.