Joy Covey

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Joy Covey (April 25, 1963 – September 18, 2013) was an American business executive, best known as Amazon's first chief financial officer.

Early life and education[edit]

Covey was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in San Mateo, California. She dropped out of school at 15 and moved to Fresno, California and began working as a part-time grocery clerk.[1] She later resumed her education and graduated from California State University, Fresno with a B.S. in Business/Accounting in 1982. In 1989, she graduated from Harvard's J.D./M.B.A. program.[2][3][4]


Before Amazon[edit]

After graduating from California State University, Fresno, she began her career as an accountant at Arthur Young LLP.[4] After graduating from Harvard, Covey briefly joined Wasserstein, Perella in New York as an investment banker[4] before joining a technology company called Digidesign.[5] She helped take the company public and then sold it to another company called Avid, in Boston. In the mid-1990s, Covey moved back to Silicon Valley and interviewed at several promising companies like Excite and Marimba. It was then that she heard about Amazon.[5]


In 1996, Covey joined Amazon, shortly becoming the CFO and then Chief Strategy Officer and raising over $500 million for the company.[4] In 1999 she was #28 on Fortune magazine's list of "Most Powerful Women in Business" [6][7] She left Amazon voluntarily in 2000, it was said that she "was tired of frenetic internet life".[8]

Fortune Magazine said of her:

Other women on our list, like's Joy Covey, learned from mothers who gained strength through suffering. During World War II, Joan Covey, who is Dutch by heritage, lived in Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies). When the Japanese invaded, she was sent to a prison camp for two years. She watched her own mother starve to death there. The hardship fostered an intense self-reliance, which daughter Joy has as well.[9]


Covey died when she was struck by a delivery van while cycling on a road in California.[10]

Covey served as the treasurer of Natural Resources Defense Council at the time of her death.[4][5][11]

She had a son, Tyler, who was 8 at the time of her death.[11]

Covey was a pilot.[4]


  1. ^ "Amazon's first CFO Joy Covey dies in bicycle accident". 
  2. ^ Streitfeld, David (September 19, 2013). "Former Amazon Executive Dies in Bicycle Accident". The New York Times. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ "A Conversation with Joy Covey". Harvard Law Today: Alumni Notes & Newsmakers. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Joy Covey, Amazon CFO During IPO, Dies in Bicycling Crash at 50". Bloomberg. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Blodgett, Henry. "Joy Covey, 1963-2013". Business Insider. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-20. 
  9. ^ "Behind Every Successful Woman There Is...". 
  10. ^ "Joy Covey, Amazon's First CFO, Steered an Emerging Giant's Torrid Growth". Business Week. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Swisher, Kara. "Tragedy: Amazon's First CFO and Internet Pioneer Joy Covey Dies in Bike Accident". All Things D. Retrieved 4 August 2016.