Microsoft CEO Nadella: Windows Chief Leaving As Company Aims To 'Step Up' To Cloud And Edge Opportunities


Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, is departing the company as part of an executive shake-up to "accelerate our innovation and better serve the needs of our customers and partners," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote in an email to employees Thursday.

In the email, which Microsoft posted online, Nadella said the company is looking to ramp up its push for pursuing "intelligent cloud and intelligent edge" opportunities.

[Related: Morgan Stanley: Cloud Will Push Microsoft To A $1 Trillion Valuation Within One Year]

A 21-year veteran of Microsoft, Myerson has led the Windows organization since 2013. Myerson "has been instrumental in helping me arrive at this new organizational structure," Nadella wrote in the email.

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"With change comes transition, and one transition we have been planning for is for Terry Myerson to pursue his next chapter outside Microsoft," Nadella wrote.

Rajesh Jha, who has served as executive vice president of Microsoft’s Office Product Group, will now have an expanded role that involves heading an "Experiences and Devices" team, according to Nadella. "The purpose of this team is to instill a unifying product ethos across our end-user experiences and devices," Nadella wrote.

Nadella disclosed a number of other leadership changes, including the promotion of Corporate Vice President Panos Panay to chief product officer and the expansion of responsibilities for Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie, who will head up a new "Cloud and AI Platform" team.

Among the other leadership changes is that Microsoft is promoting Corporate Vice President Jason Zander to serve as executive vice president for Azure.

Nadella said the moves are aimed to better position Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft in the era of cloud, edge and artificial intelligence.

"Today’s announcement enables us to step up to this opportunity and responsibility across all our solution areas," Nadella wrote.

Reed Wiedower, CTO of New Signature, a Washington, D.C.-based Microsoft partner, told CRN in an email that "from the partner perspective, we’re very excited about all of these moves."

The changes are "impacting the product groups primarily, and thus there won't be any large-scale disruptive moment (similar to last year) for the field sales organization, which will ensure we don’t see any slowdown in sales efforts as we move into the summer. That can’t be overstated," Wiedower said.

In addition, he said, there’s a "huge transition hinted at in the email which is important for all partners, customers and Microsoft itself – that the 'Microsoft 365' concept isn’t merely a marketing branding exercise, but a true differentiator that is focused on driving amazing customer experiences. Having Rajesh Jha leading that group is a huge win."

In the email, Nadella wrote that "modern needs, habits and expectations of our customers are motivating us to bring Windows, Office, and third-party applications and devices into a more cohesive Microsoft 365 experience."

In both the commercial and consumer space, Microsoft is seen as "cool" again, Wiedower said, and that's "primarily because they've figured out how to drive magical experiences in both the home and business environments. Having Jha lead that group, and having it focus on 'Experiences' is key to this. I'm sure I'm not the only person to want to hop onto Twitter to congratulate Panos Panay on a well-deserved promotion – he's the best in the business as representing this experience focused effort in front of journalists, analysts and customers."

The Azure changes are "equally large," Wiedower added. "Scott Guthrie continues to drive positive change across the entire organization and by linking AI with the underlying Azure efforts, they’re making many of their transformational products work together under a single umbrella, from AI, to mixed reality, to the new Business Applications group expansion."

Another important executive change announced by Microsoft, Wiedower said, is that Corporate Vice President Eric Lockard will join the Cloud and AI Platform team to help improve Microsoft’s own store and commerce platforms.

The move is "subtle, but key for partners," Wiedower said. "These back-end systems are currently a source of pain for partners, and as Microsoft consolidates on a single store and commerce platform partners will notice a huge decrease in friction, allowing customers and enterprise organizations alike to consume services from Microsoft and the partner community with much greater ease. One of the reasons New Signature is such a good partner is that we’ve dedicated lots of energy to overcoming this friction, but this change will lift all partner boats higher, which is great to see."