Skype Business Chief Among Skype Exec Ousters: Report


Skype has fired a number of senior executives in advance of its acquisition by Microsoft, according to a report. Said to be among the departed are the top vice president in charge of Skype for Business, and several architects of Skype's nascent channel program.

Bloomberg reported the moves Monday, citing three people said to be familiar with the matter as saying that Skype Technologies SA is making the cuts to reduce the value of those executives' payouts. In other words, the timing of the dismissals means stock options will be worth less than if executives stayed until Microsoft's $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype is finished.

The executives include David Gurle, vice president and general manager of Skype for Business, as well as Christopher Dean, head of consumer markets business development, Russ Shaw, vice president and general manager of mobile and EMEA, and Don Albert, general manager, North America.

Doug Bewsher, Skype's chief marketing officer, and Anne Gillespie, head of human resources, have also been ousted, as have executives Ramu Sunkara and Alyson Campa, both of whom came to Skype after it acquired Qik earlier this year.

Microsoft announced plans to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion on May 10, a move that gives Microsoft a popular brand in the consumer communications space and also expands its VoIP footprint. Skype had planned on an initial public offering last year worth up to $100 million, but held off on the IPO, hiring a new CEO, former Cisco executive Tony Bates.

Skype also launched a formal channel program in an effort to gain more Skype for Business users. Gurle, who oversaw those efforts as part of his Skype for Business management role, was hired by Skype in January 2010.

Neither Microsoft nor Skype responded to a request for comment by CRN on the firings. Bloomberg reported a Skype spokesman as saying that "as part of a recent internal shift, Skype has made some management changes."

Microsoft's Skype acquisition was approved by the Federal Trade Commission late last week. Under the terms of the deal, Skype CEO Bates will become president of Microsoft's Skype Division, reporting to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.