Amazon.com's first CFO was killed Wednesday afternoon in a bicycle accident, authorities confirmed yesterday. Joy Covey, 50, was riding on a rural road in Woodside, California, when she collided with a minivan as it turned onto another street. "She was wearing a helmet, but the injuries were too severe," says a California Highway Patrol officer. "The vehicle turned left directly in front of the bicycle, which was traveling downhill." The 22-year-old driver has not been cited, but authorities are still investigating, the San Jose Mercury News reports. In a tragic twist, police say he may have been making deliveries for OnTrac—a shipping service that counts Amazon among its customers, the New York Times reports.
Covey was the CFO and VP of finance and administration from 1996 to 1999, and oversaw Amazon's IPO, the San Francisco Chronicle reports; during that time she was named one of the 50 most powerful business women in America by Fortune. After leaving Amazon in 2000 she served on various boards, started a nonprofit, and most recently worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "It's a very sad day for Amazon," a company spokesperson tells CNET's Dara Kerr, who describes Covey as "instrumental in making the massive e-commerce company what it is today." Many reports on her death are citing a 2002 Harvard Law Bulletin interview, in which Covey recounted dropping out of high school and working as a grocery clerk; she ended up graduating from Fresno State in just 2.5 years, and got her law and MBA degrees from Harvard. (Covey wasn't the only business leader to die this week.)