Tableau turns to AWS for a cloud-savvy CEO

Tableau has hired longtime AWS executive Adam Selipsky as its CEO

Data visualization specialist Tableau Software is bringing in seasoned talent to help it compete in an increasingly cloud-based world. The company has hired longtime Amazon Web Services executive Adam Selipsky as its CEO, replacing cofounder Christian Chabot.

Chabot, who has been CEO for 14 years, will continue to serve as chairman of Tableau’s board of directors. Selipsky, who currently is vice president of marketing, sales and support for AWS, will join Tableau on Sept. 16.

“Adam is going to take Tableau to the next level,” Chabot said in a press release, citing Selipsky's cloud experience. “He is the right person to lead Tableau to the next stage of growth.”

Tableau offers on-premises desktop and server versions of its software as well as Tableau Online. The company says the cloud-based software is its fastest-growing offering and it's been working to improve its performance.

Selipsky has spent more than a decade at AWS. Before that, he was an executive at RealNetworks, leading the video subscription and media player division.

The change is intriguing, particularly given Tableau's recent financial troubles, said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT.

"Despite continuing customer growth, the company has been struggling, and its shares have lost a substantial percentage of their value in the past year," King said.

"That sort of performance places enormous pressure on senior execs and the company's board," he added. "In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if some major shareholders demanded that Tableau make a bold move, reduce the roles of the company's founders, or begin shopping itself to potential buyers."

Selipsky's arrival suggests Tableau is pursuing the first two options, bringing in new blood while moving its founders into more advisory roles.

Chris Stolte, another of the company's cofounders, will be replaced as chief development officer, the company said, taking on the role of technical advisor instead. Andrew Beers, who is currently vice president of product development, will become chief development officer.

"The obvious hope is that Selipsky's success at AWS and his relationships with mid- to large-sized enterprise customers will enable Tableau to rapidly expand its sales of analytics solutions and services," King said.

Also on Monday, Tableau announced that Francois Ajenstat, one of its longtime product leaders, will be elevated to a new position as chief product officer reporting to Beers.

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