Amazon's top treasurer leaves the company after 15 years of managing its money

Key Points
  • Kurt Zumwalt, Amazon’s global treasurer, left the company last week, according to a person familiar with the matter.
  • Zumwalt, a 15-year company veteran, managed Amazon's cash balance and investment portfolio, as well as debt financing.
  • His departure comes as Amazon heads into another heavy investment cycle, while facing growing concerns around the trade war and regulatory scrutiny.
A reception desk at Amazon offices in downtown Seattle, Washington.
Glen Chapman | AFP | Getty Images

Kurt Zumwalt, Amazon's global treasurer, has departed after 15 years of helping manage the company's cash and overseeing investments and debt financings.

Zumwalt left Amazon last week, according to people familiar with matter who asked not to be named because the news hasn't been made public. Zumwalt recently updated his LinkedIn profile to say that he left this month.

His move comes at a tricky time for Amazon. The company, which had a record $10 billion in net profit last year and is now sitting on over $40 billion of cash and equivalents, is entering another heavy investment cycle as it looks to make one-day delivery the default for Prime members. At the same time, Amazon is dealing with macro uncertainty because of the trade war with China, global recession concerns and growing regulatory scrutiny around its business practices.

Zumwalt, who reported to CFO Brian Olsavsky, is the latest high-profile executive to exit. Last month, Jeff Blackburn, who was senior vice president of worldwide business development, announced a one-year leave that starts next year, shortly after Prentis Wilson, vice president of Amazon Business, left to join start-up Boxed. Sunny Jain, who ran Amazon's health and personal care business, including the PillPack division, went to Unilever in March, and Chee Chew, vice president of consumer engagement, became chief product office at Twilio in January.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: (L-R) Amazon SVP Jeff Blackburn and Worldwide Head of Motion Pictures Amazon Studios Jason Ropell attend Amazon Studios Oscar Celebration at Delilah on February 26, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images)
Jerod Harris | Getty Images

Zumwalt didn't respond to inquiries from CNBC as to why he left or where he's headed next. One person said he doesn't have any plans to join another company at this point. Tony Masone, who joined Amazon as assistant treasurer in 2016 after a long career at General Electric, has replaced Zumwalt and now has the title of treasurer, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In an interview with Acuity Magazine in June, Zumwalt said that in addition to the primary duties of a treasurer, he was also in charge of Amazon's global insurance program for third-party suppliers and some internal "fintech initiatives," such as its currency converter app. On his LinkedIn page, Zumwalt says he "built and scaled the treasury department" as the company grew from $5 billion in revenue to over $200 billion.

His team was spread across the U.S., Luxembourg, and India and managed relationships with over 45 banks globally, he said in the Acuity interview. At a conference this year, Zumwalt compared the size and scale of Amazon's cash balance to that of a "financial institution."

Zumwalt started his career at Bank of America and later served as the treasurer of Wind River, which Intel acquired for $884 million in 2009. He also sits on the board of the United States Tennis Association.

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