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.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3][4][5]


Before Amazon[edit]

After graduating from California State University, Fresno, she began her career as an accountant at Arthur Young LLP.[5] After graduating from Harvard, Covey briefly joined Wasserstein, Perella in New York as an investment banker[5] before joining a technology company called Digidesign.[6] 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.[6]


In 1996, Covey joined Amazon, shortly becoming the CFO and then Chief Strategy Officer and raising over $500 million for the company.[5] In 1999 she was #28 on Fortune magazine's list of "Most Powerful Women in Business" [7][8] She left Amazon voluntarily in 2000, it was said that she "was tired of frenetic internet life".[9]

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.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Covey served as the treasurer of Natural Resources Defense Council before her death, and[5][6][11] had a son, Tyler.[11] Covey was also a pilot.[5]


Covey died when she was struck by a delivery van while cycling on a road in California on Sept. 18, 2013. Covey's collision with a delivery van was previously reported, but the BuzzFeed News-ProPublica report revealed for the first time on December 23, 2019, that the van was carrying Amazon packages. The driver was a subcontractor for OnTrac, which Amazon was employing at the time to deliver packages, according to the report.[12][13]


  1. ^ "Amazon executive was killed after colliding with a van delivering the company's packages, report reveals". Business Insider.
  2. ^ "Amazon's first CFO Joy Covey dies in bicycle accident".
  3. ^ Streitfeld, David (September 19, 2013). "Former Amazon Executive Dies in Bicycle Accident". The New York Times. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  4. ^ "A Conversation with Joy Covey". Harvard Law Today: Alumni Notes & Newsmakers. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Joy Covey, Amazon CFO During IPO, Dies in Bicycling Crash at 50". Bloomberg. September 19, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Blodgett, Henry. "Joy Covey, 1963–2013". Business Insider. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  7. ^ "Joy Covey: Amazon pioneer and high tech rock star dead at 50 in Woodside bike crash". September 19, 2013.
  8. ^ "FORTUNE's 50 Most Powerful Women - October 25, 1999".
  9. ^ "Former Amazon star exec killed in bike accident - Postcards". Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  10. ^ "Behind Every Successful Woman There Is..."
  11. ^ a b Swisher, Kara. "Tragedy: Amazon's First CFO and Internet Pioneer Joy Covey Dies in Bike Accident". All Things D. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  12. ^ "Joy Covey, Amazon's First CFO, Steered an Emerging Giant's Torrid Growth". September 19, 2013. Archived from the original on September 20, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  13. ^ "Amazon's Race to Build a Fast Delivery Network". BuzzFeed News. December 23, 2019. Retrieved December 23, 2019.