The season of change at Microsoft

New engineering leadership is just the beginning

Karen Forster

by Karen Forster on 5/20/2014

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Anyone who has followed Microsoft for any amount of time knows that change is continuous, and this time of year (when the company prepares for the new fiscal year starting July 1) is prime time for reorganization of team and roles. Adding to the usual June/July shakeups is the new leadership at the top of the company, trickling down from the new CEO, Satya Nadella. The next leader in the chain is Nadella’s successor as Executive Vice President of Cloud and Enterprise, Scott Guthrie.

In the context of the season for change, it’s no surprise that word of some specific role shuffling has started leaking out of Redmond. Today, Mary Jo Foley is reporting that Guthrie has named his long-time lieutenant, Jason Zander, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Azure. This move comes as no surprise at all to Azure employees and insiders, as Zander has worked closely with Guthrie for the past several years running the Azure engineering team.

In another significant move, Foley says Guthrie has put Ranga Rengarajan in charge of the Data Platform group, which includes SQL Server, Azure SQL database, and other data platform products. Rengarajan replaces Quentin Clark, the former Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Data Platform engineering team. Clark will now report to Microsoft Business Solutions Executive Vice President Kirill Tatarinov, according to Foley.

Remaining in place are Corporate Vice President Bill Laing, who has made the Windows Server engineering team the stellar example of how to get things done right and on schedule; and Soma Somasegar, longtime leader of the Developer group inthe Cloud and Enterprise Division. By keeping Laing in place, Guthrie is indicating that it’s smart to live by the rule, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Laing's Windows Server engineering team is one of the most highly respected teams in the company.

These changes are all focused on engineering. As the cliché goes, change rolls downhill, so expect further, deeper changes after July 1. As Nadella and Guthrie bring their own vision and tactics into the company’s structure and run of business, it would not be surprising to see new leaders emerge further down in the organizational structure.

And then there’s the One Marketing organization that serves the One Microsoft vision laid out by Steve Ballmer before his departure. Marketing has undergone numerous changes in leadership and organizational structure in the past 5 years, and it’s overdue for further shakeups. Stay tuned.

Topic: General Knowledge

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