Microsoft Searches For New MBS Top Dog

Doug Burgum, who has led Microsoft's Business Solutions charge for the last five years, is taking on a new role as chairman of MBS.

Microsoft is launching a public external search for a replacement to become the new senior vice president of the group, Burgum's current title. There is a chance, however, that his successor could come from the inside as well, the company said. Burgum's direct reports now include Corporate Vice President of Development Satya Nadella; Vice President of Business Development David O'Hara; CFO Craig Bruya; and MBS COO Orlando Ayala. Ayala also heads the company's Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partner (SMS&P) group.

Burgum, who led the independent Great Plains Software before Microsoft bought it in 2001, will continue to report to Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. Microsoft formed this group a few months ago when it converged its Business Solutions and Information Worker/Office unit into one group. Both MBS and the Information Worker units remain their own profit and loss centers, however.

Ayala remains COO and head of SMS&P . For now he continues to report to Burgum and will report to Burgum's successor.

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"No, I'm not leaving [the company]. I know those who've been saying that will be disappointed,b ut someday they'll be right," Burgum told CRN Thursday morning.

The news comes just as the company preps the launch of CRM 3.0, or Dynamics CRM, and Great Plains 9.0 (or Dynamics GP) next month.

Last quarter, the division narrowed its losses to $12 million from $31 million for the year-ago September quarter and boosted revenue 16 percent to $181 million, up 16 percent from $156 million.

Burgum has long been a partner favorite among both long-time Great Plains VARs and accountants and more recently among the Navision, Axapta partners who came into the Microsoft fold by virtue of the company's acquisition of Navision four years ago.

"Over the years, I've been viewed as a strong advocate for the channel and I see myself continuing that. By channel I mean ISVs, partners, the whole ecosystem is critical to our strategy and success."

He estimated that the bulk of his current time is spent on internal-facing work, and he hopes to reverse that to spend more time with partners and customers.

Burgum had remained in Great Plains' hometown of Fargo, N.D. His successor will be in Microsoft's Redmond, Wash. headquarters.

Some 1,100 Microsoft employees work in Fargo. About 400 to 500 are in development, another 400 to 500 in the call center. Microsoft payroll and accounts receivable for the Americas runs out of Fargo as well, Burgum said.

This story was updated Thursday afternoon with more information on Burgum's direct reports and information on the division's most recent quarter.