Report: Microsoft Losing Two Senior Execs As Reller, Bates Depart

Two of Microsoft's top executives are reportedly leaving the company, and another is getting an adjusted role, in what would be the first major organizational changes in the wake of the appointment of new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella last month.

Nadella told his employees on Friday that Tami Reller, executive vice president of marketing, and Tony Bates, executive vice president of business development and evangelism, are both departing, Re/code reported Sunday.

Microsoft is expected to officially announce their departures on Tuesday, according to Re/code.

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Microsoft partners are bullish on one reported move in particular. Chris Capossela, corporate vice president of Microsoft's consumer channels and a 23-year company veteran, is joining the senior leadership team and taking Reller's role, according to Re/Code.

Capossela will also reportedly be taking over Microsoft's advertising duties from Mark Penn, executive vice president of advertising and strategy and the leader of Microsoft's controversial 'Scroogled' campaign.

Capossela's career at Microsoft has included a number of roles that involved interacting with partners. Dave Sobel, director of partner community at GFI Software, a Durham, N.C., Microsoft partner, hasn't met Capossela but told CRN he has a solid reputation in the channel.

"Any executive who recognizes the role the channel plays is always a strong choice," Sobel said. "Even if they aren't in complete alignment with the channel, they still understand partners."

Reller, a 13-year Microsoft veteran, has been on the front lines of the challenges Microsoft has faced with Windows 8. While Windows 8.1 has fixed some of the problems that slowed Windows 8 sales, many Microsoft partners still consider the Metro interface to be a big mistake on Microsoft's part.

Bates was one of the internal candidates Microsoft's board was said to have considered for the CEO role. In 2010, he was running Cisco's $20 billion enterprise, commercial and small business division when Skype poached him to become its CEO. He joined Microsoft in its $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype the next year.

Reller and Bates are the biggest names to depart since Windows engineering chief Steven Sinofsky left in November 2012. Microsoft partners are expecting more departures, but the big question is whether any more members of the senior leadership team will depart.

Bob Venero, the CEO of Future Tech, a Holbrook, N.Y., Microsoft partner, is expecting more executive leadership changes at Microsoft as part of the recent changing of the guard. He told CRN he's hoping the new leadership will do a better job of listening to the needs of the channel than the old one has been doing in recent years.