Microsoft Shakes Things Up at the Top
Along with executives leaving, several product groups will combine.
There's a lot of high-level turnover coming to Microsoft, as numerous key leaders will be out by the end of the year.
Microsoft today said Stephen Elop, once considered a frontrunner to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO in 2013 following the company's $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia's handset business, is among several senior executives who'll be exiting Redmond. CEO Satya Nadella said Elop, along with Chief Strategist Mark Penn, Dynamics Chief Kirill Tatarinov and SVP for Technical Strategy Eric Rudder are leaving the company.
The shakeup comes as Microsoft looks to close out its fiscal year on June 30. Microsoft typically has its annual reorg at this time of year. Nadella said in an e-mail to employees that the company is consolidating the company's business units. The Dynamics business long run by Tatarinov will fall under the cloud and enterprise business led by Scott Guthrie, while the devices group headed by Elop will be combined with the operating systems group lead Terry Myerson. The combined organization is called the Windows and Devices Group.
"This new team brings together all the engineering capability required to drive breakthrough innovations that will propel the Windows ecosystem forward," Nadella said in his e-mail. "WDG will drive Windows as a service across devices of all types and build all of our Microsoft devices including Surface, HoloLens, Lumia, Surface Hub, Band and Xbox. This enables us to create new categories while generating enthusiasm and demand for Windows broadly."
Nadella noted that combining Dynamics with the Cloud and Enterprise Group "will enable us to accelerate our ERP and CRM work even further and mainstream them as part of our core engineering and innovation efforts. C+E will work closely with ASG to ensure the end-to-end experience is cohesive across communications, collaboration and business processes."
The only surprise about Elop's departure is that it took so long, considering he was the only senior executive not seen at major events. Penn is sticking around until September, according to Nadella's e-mail, to pursue something else. Could it be that Penn will be jumping back into the political arena?
Bringing these groups and their engineering teams together makes sense as the company looks to build a more cohesive strategy around mobility, productivity, platforms and cloud.
Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.