NPR : News

Filed Under:

Joy Covey, Who Was Key To Amazon.com's Success, Dies

"Joy Covey, who helped take Amazon.com Inc. public as the Internet retailer's chief financial officer, died Wednesday when her bicycle collided with a van on a downhill stretch of road in San Mateo County," the Los Angeles Times writes.

She was 50.

San Francisco's KGO-TV reports that:

"According to the California Highway Patrol, Covey was riding downhill on Skyline Boulevard when she crashed into a Mazda minivan Wednesday afternoon. The minivan, driven by a 22-year-old Fremont man, was heading uphill and made a left turn onto Elk Tree Road directly in front of Covey. Covey crashed into the right side of the van and was pronounced dead at the scene. CHP officials say the driver is cooperating with their investigation."

CNN Money has reposted what it wrote about Covey in 1999, when she was "No. 28 on Fortune's Most Powerful Women in Business list."

After dropping out of high school because she was bored, Fortune wrote, Covey used her 173 IQ "to pass California's high school-equivalency exam. At 19, she graduated from California State University at Fresno and took the CPA exam (scoring second best in the country that year). After working at the accounting firm Arthur Young for a while, she headed to Harvard to collect an MBA and a law degree."

In 1996, Fortune continued, "following an interlude in Silicon Valley, Covey arrived in Seattle, pumped at the prospect of being a pioneer. Amazon.com was then an unproven e-commerce curiosity. 'I thought, Wouldn't it be great to build one of those new business models like Microsoft or Intel or Dell?' ... 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.' "

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Covey "led Amazon's [1997] IPO, counseling impatient Wall Street analysts to expect more red ink before profitability. By the time she quit to go skiing in 2000, Covey's net worth was estimated at $200 million. Amazon now has 97,000 employees and a market capitalization of $142.6 billion, all of it based on a structure she put in place."

The Times adds that "Amazon went public on May 14, 1997, with an initial public offering price of $18. Shares closed [Wednesday] at a record $312.06."

In recent years, CNET writes, "Covey was working as the treasurer for the environmental group National Resources Defense Council. ... Covey also established the Beagle Foundation, which gives funding to environmental causes."

The Times says "her son, Tyler, is among her survivors."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Rob And Nick Reiner Say 'Being Charlie' Is 'Drawn From Our Lives'

Being Charlie is a new film about addiction in a Hollywood family. It's a story director Rob Reiner and his son, writer Nick Reiner, say they know well because of their own family's struggles.
NPR

When It Came To Food, Neanderthals Weren't Exactly Picky Eaters

During the Ice Age, it seems Neanderthals tended to chow down on whatever was most readily available. Early humans, on the other hand, maintained a consistent diet regardless of environmental changes.
NPR

David Cameron's Former Advisor Wants To Revamp The U.S. Conservative Movement

British political operative Steve Hilton tells NPR's Scott Simon what he thinks the conservative movement needs both in the U.K. and the U.S.
NPR

'The Guardian' Launches New Series Examining Online Abuse

A video was released this week where female sports journalists were read abusive online comments to their face. It's an issue that reaches far beyond that group, and The Guardian is taking it on in a series called "The Web We Want." NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with series editor Becky Gardiner and writer Nesrine Malik, who receives a lot of online abuse.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.