Winners, Losers in Microsoft’s Latest Reorg

Microsoft announced its latest and long-rumored corporate reorganization on Thursday. However, this one appeared to be less about redesigning the ship while it’s in motion, which is Microsoft’s usual practice during a reorganization, and more about rearranging the deck chairs – or rather, who sits in them.

In the latest round of changes, the company promoted seven long-time Microsoft executives to the title of senior vice president, and seven others to the title of corporate vice president. However, in several cases executives will continue to do the same jobs they’re already doing.

This latest reorganization is not as comprehensive structurally as, for instance, September 2005’s reorg, where the company spit itself into three separate operating divisions.

The 2005 split was meant to make the combined company more agile and quicker to respond to customers. This reorg, on the other hand, seems to be more aimed at making sure that key management talent stays around.

At the same time, three other senior executives are leaving the company or have left already.

[cob:Related_Articles]Frequent reorganizations are nothing new and, in fact, are almost an annual event at Microsoft. Often in the past, they have been announced in late winter after planning activities for the next fiscal year – which begins July 1 – were finished.

“Each of these executives will play a critical role in leading Microsoft into the future [and] today’s promotions are a result of their ability to think strategically on a global scale, the respect they’ve earned from their peers, customers and partners, and their significant contributions to the company,” CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement.

According to a Microsoft statement, among those promoted to senior vice president:

  • Chris Capossela continues to head the Information Worker product management group. He manages Office products and services, as well as unified communications and collaboration, business intelligence, and enterprise content management.
  • Satya Nadella, continues to head the Search, Portals & Advertising group, which includes engineering efforts for Live Search, Microsoft adCenter, and subscriptions, points and billing platforms. The new title also comes with responsibility for MSN programming and engineering.
  • S. Somasegar remains in charge of the Developer Division, and oversees developer languages, tools and platforms.
  • Bill Veghte continues to head the Online Services & Windows business group. His role includes “responsibility for all end-user business strategy, sales and marketing across Windows Client, Windows Live, MSN and Search.”

Newly promoted corporate vice presidents include:

  • Scott Guthrie, who is in charge of the .NET Developer Platform. He was previously general manager and continues to manage development teams working on Visual Studio as well as .NET Framework technologies.
  • Steve Guggenheimer will head the OEM Division. He was previously general manager of application platform marketing.
  • Roz Ho continues to lead Premium Mobile Offerings and will lead the new Danger Inc. team after that acquisition, announced Wednesday, is completed.

Of course, shuffles that comprehensive don’t come about without some loss of personnel. For example, earlier Thursday the company confirmed that a key senior executive who had been leader of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile business has left the company to work for mobile communications giant Vodaphone.

Pieter Knook, senior vice president of Microsoft’s mobile communications business and a 17-year company veteran, will start his new job as director of a new business unit called Vodaphone Internet Services in mid-March, according to a Vodaphone statement.

It is unknown whether Knook’s departure was related to Microsoft’s announced acquisition of mobile consumer software maker Danger this week, or the company’s recent bid for search giant Yahoo. It is also unclear whether it’s connected to the reorganization.

Other than confirming Knook’s departure, however, Microsoft had little to add.

“Pieter felt it was the right time to look at new opportunities. We value Pieter’s contributions to the business and wish him well in his new endeavors,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement e-mailed to

Knook has been replaced by Andrew Lees, who was previously corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Server & Tools marketing and solutions group, according to a Microsoft statement. Lees, also a 17-year Microsoft veteran, has been promoted to Knook’s old title: senior vice president of Microsoft’s mobile communications business, making him one of the seven newly promoted senior executives.

Two other executives are leaving as well.

The previous senior vice president of the Online Services Group, Steve Berkowitz has stepped down from that position, although he will remain at Microsoft until the end of August, the company said.

In addition, Michael Sievert, corporate vice president of Windows consumer product marketing is being replaced by Brad Brooks, who will also inherit the title. Sievert joined the company in 2005 from AT&T Wireless. “Sievert … has decided to leave Microsoft to pursue new endeavors,” the company statement said.

The company did not comment on how Yahoo would be integrated into the company, if the hostile takeover bid succeeds.

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