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Amazon.com CFO Jenson to Resign

A month after a Wall Street Journal column raised concerns about its cash position, Amazon.com Inc. Chief Financial Officer Warren Jenson said he would resign later this year.

Unlike many financial skippers, who have been exiting through the revolving doors of troubled dot-coms over the last two years, Jenson has guided Seattle's Amazon.com through frequently choppy waters since September 1999.

Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos attested to that in a public statement.

"Warren was instrumental in helping the company surpass its fourth quarter objectives, and we thank him for his leadership," Bezos said. "He has also assembled a world-class finance team and has worked to establish a clear path for our Company to reach our 2002 objective of generating positive operating cash flow-- and possibly even free cash flow-- for the year. All of us at Amazon have enjoyed working with Warren, and we will miss him when he leaves."

Jenson, who will continue as CFO for the next several months and help the company find his replacement, said he desired to "move on to a new set of challenges."

On Feb. 4, shares of Amazon.com plummeted $1.20 after a Wall Street Journal column raised concerns over the company's disclosure in its annual report that it had pledged $166.7 million of its marketable securities as collateral against other financial obligations. The report said the use of that money as collateral suggested Amazon would have less than the $550 million in cash and marketable securities it has projected it will have by March 31.

The outfit, and Jenson himself, said liquidity was not a concern and some analysts concurred with the firm and saw no reason to downgrade estimates on the giant e-tailer. Moreover, Amazon.com had already cheered analysts in January when it posted a fully diluted net profit of 1 cent per share as it recorded its first billion-dollar income period. The firm posted record fourth quarter net sales of $1.12 billion, compared with $972 million in the fourth quarter of 2000, an increase of 15 percent.