Amazon's First CFO Has Died at the Age of 50

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We are saddened to hear about the loss of Joy Covey, a pioneer in tech. May we be inspired by her achievements.

By Jessica Schimm (Assistant Editor, Women 2.0)

Joy Covey, former Amazon CFO, died in a tragic bike accident, after colliding with a minivan in Redwood City on Thursday according to Bloomberg. She was 50 years old.

Covey was a pioneer in the tech field and joined Amazon on the brink of the dot-com era in 1996 and stayed there until 2000. When she started, the company had about 150 employees; today Amazon has over 97,000. Additionally, Amazon has a “market capitalization of $142.6 billion, all of it based on a structure she put in place,” according to San Jose Mercury News. At the end of her time at Amazon, her net worth was estimated to be $200 million.

Though Covey never finished high school, she went on to graduate from Harvard and became Jeff Bezo’s co-strategist at Amazon, according to The Daily News. She was named on Fortune’s list of 50 most powerful women in 1999 and retired the following year to spend more time with her family.

Bloomberg Business Week said in one article:

“Without her fierce intellect and focused energy, Amazon would not be the company it is today.”

According to NPR, Fortune wrote in 1996:

“Covey has been an unusually influential finance chief, working with Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos to recruit senior management and steer the company into businesses far beyond books. Says Bezos: 'I can budget only four days a year to talk to investors, so Joy has been Amazon.com's primary contact with Wall Street. In the Internet space, that's really unusual. She's doing what a CEO would normally do. "

She is survived by her 8-year-old son.

We are saddened to hear about the loss of a prominent female leader in the tech field. May we learn and be inspired from her achievements.

Photo via Joy Covey Facebook. Jess headshot

Jessica Schimm (@JessicaSchimm) is the assistant editor at Women 2.0. She is a recent graduate of San Francisco State where she earned a B.A. in journalism and was the editor-in-chief of SF State’s Her Campus chapter. She has a strong interest in women’s issues and writes about them on her blog Women Who Run San Francisco.