Ross Wilkers

CLOUD

Carlson's successor at AWS retains her mandate for growth, long-term partnerships

Amazon’s public sector cloud computing arm as the market knows it today and all that it’s been since 2010 has had one primary face and voice at the top. But that is about to change.

Teresa Carlson is the architect of Amazon Web Services’ public sector business, which made its ambitions in the cloud market battle known by hiring her away from Microsoft nearly a decade ago.

She is now leaving to join big data software company Splunk as president and chief growth officer, that company said Monday. 

Succeeding Carlson at AWS is Max Peterson, currently vice president of international sales for the public sector shop. Peterson joined AWS in 2012 from Dell Technologies, where he was vice president and general manager of its civilian and intelligence business.

It is hard to overstate what AWS has become in the federal government market over 10 years and particularly the last seven since it shocked the market to win CIA’s C2S cloud contract in 2013. Perhaps not that surprising now in retrospect given the thousands of agencies using AWS’ cloud today.

“We’re really proud about the work Teresa has done to help public sector customers around the world reimagine digital transformation and achieve mission success, and we wish her the best moving forward,” an AWS spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The transition comes amid two other big ones at Amazon. AWS CEO Andy Jassy will succeed Jeff Bezos as chief executive for all of Amazon, while former Tableau Software CEO Adam Selipsky was hired to run the cloud business.

Peterson and Selipsky will lead the effort to keep AWS at the top of the overall cloud hosting market’s food chain.

Gartner says AWS holds 45 percent of the public cloud hosting market as of 2019, according to the research firm’s most recent estimates. Microsoft holds 17.9 percent of the total public cloud infrastructure market but saw growth of 57.8 over the prior year versus AWS’ rate of 29 percent.

Setting aside the drama over that cloud hosting contract named JEDI: a key cog in AWS’ public sector approach has also been to ink partnerships with nearly every federal systems integrator in the market.

In the fall of last year, Carlson’s role was expanded to include business in certain highly-regulated industries that included financial services, telecommunications, energy, and the aerospace and satellite vertical unveiled in Summer 2020.

Regardless of how it’s structured or who leads it though, Amazon is a cloud company with the AWS business being its profit engine. Which helps AWS reinvest into the offering, lower prices and pretty much just continue that cycle.

Carlson’s first day at Splunk will be April 19, but a connection to AWS remains in practice for her as both companies are partners. She will report to Splunk CEO Doug Merritt, who referenced the companies’ past collaborations involving her.

“I’ve had the privilege of getting to know her as a partner during her tenure at AWS, and know she’ll be an excellent addition to our team,” Merritt said in a statement.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at rwilkers@washingtontechnology.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also connect with him on LinkedIn.

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