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Microsoft casts out ex-Nokia chief Stephen Elop

/ 18 June, 2015

Stephen-ElopMicrosoft announced that it will be casting out ex-Nokia CEO Stephen Elop as part of a major re-shuffling in its executive ranks.

The Redmond, Wash. firm also pared the number of major engineering divisions from four to three.

CEO Satya Nadella broke the news on June 17th with Microsoft issuing both a statement and email Nadella sent to employees.

“To better align our capabilities and, ultimately, deliver better products and services our customers love at a more rapid pace, I have decided to organize our engineering effort into three groups that work together to deliver on our strategy and ambitions,” Nadella said in the email.

Two of the three groups existed prior: Cloud & Enterprise (C+E), led by 18-year veteran Scott Guthrie, and Applications & Services (ASG), headed by Qi Lu. Guthrie’s group is getting Dynamics, Microsoft’s customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, which previously was in its own oddball division.

Terry Myerson, who previously directed the Operating System group, will continue to do that while also picking up the Devices team, which Elop had run since his return to Microsoft after the $7.9 billion Nokia acquisition finalised last year. Former CEO Steve Ballmer did the deal just months before he stepped down. Myerson’s new group, a mash of his OS team and Elop’s Devices division, will be called “Windows and Devices Group (WDG).

The creation of Myerson’s WDG was a return to how Microsoft organised its engineering efforts immediately after the mid-2012 launch of its Surface and Surface Pro tablets, the company’s first-ever personal computer. Then, Julie Larson-Green, who was later shunted to a different role after Elop came aboard, ran the engineering of Microsoft’s OSes and its hardware.

Several top-level executives will also be leaving the company in the coming months, Nadella said, as fallout of today’s moves, including Elop; 25-year veteran Eric Rudder, Vice President, Advanced Technology and Education; and Kirill Tatarinov, who had been running Dynamics.

Also out: Mark Penn, the former political advisor who joined Microsoft in 2012, ran the anti-Google Scroggled campaigns, and was most recently the company’s chief insight officer, a role that was never clearly defined. Penn will found a new digital marketing equity firm, Stagwell Group, that has raised $250 million in capital, some of it from Ballmer’s billions.

Kurt DelBene, who was pushed out in 2013 by the Ballmer reorg but brought back by Nadella in April as the head of corporate strategy and planning, will continue in that role.

According to The Verge, Jo Harlow, a former Nokia executive who came with Elop to run Microsoft’s phone business, will also leave Redmond.