As head of worldwide operations at Amazon, John Felton presided over a multiyear improvement in delivery speeds for the global online retailer’s customers, as well as a double-digit drop in the recordable injury rate for its warehouse employees. Now, Felton is moving to a newly created position as senior vice president and CFO of Amazon Web Services (AWS), reporting directly to Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s CFO.
Felton has been with the company for more than 19 years, the last 12 spent in the operations organization, which he evenly split between finance and the business.
“Every day I come to work amazed and impressed by how this team is able to deliver for customers,” Felton wrote in a company blog post. “Operations has always been about how we get to world class in safety, speed, cost, quality, and innovation, and what we accomplished together in 2023 was awesome to see.”
Udit Madan, most recently the leader of global delivery services, has assumed Fenton’s previous role.
Felton takes up his new appointment as AWS reported $23.1 billion in third-quarter revenue, up 12% year over year and a $919 million boost in quarter-over-quarter revenue, for a $92 billion annualized revenue run rate.
Amazon attributes the gains in part to cost optimizations implemented in 2022 and headcount reductions in the second quarter of last year.
“I think a lot of the relatively low-hanging fruit on optimization has happened in 2023,” said Amazon CEO Andrew Jassy during the third-quarter earnings call. “It’s not to say there won’t be any more optimizations; it’s just that there’s more low-hanging fruit when you have very large footprints and you’ve built a lot of applications on a platform for you to go decide to optimize if that’s what you want to do.”
Near the top of AWS’s agenda as Felton assumes the finance role will be generative artificial intelligence (AI). Jassy notes that a host of clients including Adidas, Booking.com, Bridgewater, Clariant, GoDaddy, LexisNexis, Merck, Royal Philips, and United Airlines have turned to AWS to develop their generative AI applications.