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Amazon names new finance executive

The online retailer fills its CFO slot, hiring Tom Szkutak away from GE as it seeks to drive down its costs and maintain its earnings momentum.

Amazon.com has appointed a new chief financial officer, hiring Tom Szkutak away from General Electric.

Szkutak most recently served as the top financial executive at GE Lighting. He will start at Amazon in a few weeks, the company said Friday.

Amazon's former CFO, Warren Jenson, announced his resignation in March and left the company during the second quarter. Since then, Chief Accounting Officer Mark Peek has been leading the finance team, an Amazon representative said.

Szkutak's hiring harkens back to the heady days of the dot-com boom, when it was common to see executives depart old-line companies for young upstarts. But as the tech tide turned, so too did the fortunes of those executives.

The list of executives who jumped ship from oldline businesses to Internet ventures includes Heidi Miller, who left as chief financial officer of CitiGroup to go to Priceline.com; Bill Malloy, who left AT&T for Peapod; George Shaheen, who left Anderson Consulting for WebVan; and Joseph Galli, who left Black & Decker for Amazon and later VerticalNet.

Szkutak joins Amazon at what appears to be a good time for the online retailer. The company recently reported better-than-expected results for the second quarter. But keeping those numbers up may prove a little more difficult after the company's latest move, which slashed the minimum order size for free shipping to just $25.

"Tom's considerable talent and experience will help Amazon.com continue to drive down costs so that we can even further lower prices for customers," CEO Jeff Bezos said in a release.