Elop Is Latest Exec To Bolt Microsoft

Nokia's new CEO adds to a growing list of high-level defections from Redmond.

Paul McDougall, Editor At Large, InformationWeek

September 10, 2010

2 Min Read

Stephen Elop, who stepped down Wednesday from his position as president of Microsoft's Business Division to take the top job at Finnish phone manufacturer Nokia, is but the latest high-ranking executive to depart Redmond in recent months.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop

(click image for larger view)
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop

Entertainment & Devices chief Robbie Bach departed in May. Mike Nash, a 19-year veteran who was formerly the company's corporate VP for Windows Platform Strategy, left in February. Bill Veghte, who most recently was senior VP for the company's Windows division, announced his plans to move on from the software maker in January. Veghte now leads HP's $3.6 billion software unit.

Alex Kochis, who was the director of Microsoft's Genuine Software program, disclosed his resignation in a New Year's Eve 2009 blog post titled "Happy New Year and Goodbye."

The list of relatively recent defectors from Microsoft also includes former CFO Chris Liddell, now chief financial officer at GM, former data center chief Debra Chrapaty, former Windows head Kevin Johnson, former Windows technical lead Rob Short, and former chief media officer Joanne Bradford.

Despite the departures, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer insists his company is playing with a full deck. He didn't immediately name a replacement for Elop, but said senior business division execs Chris Capossela, Kurt DelBene, Amy Hood, and Kirill Tatarinov will now report directly to him.

The Microsoft Business Division's main offering is Microsoft Office. "The MBD business continues to grow and thrive, with 15 percent growth in the last quarter," said Ballmer, in a statement.

"It has been good to see the great response to Microsoft Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010, the growth of our Dynamics business and the way we have been successful in extending all our MBD products and services to the cloud," said Ballmer.

"I appreciate the way that Stephen has been a good steward of the brand and business in his time here, and look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role at Nokia," Ballmer said.

Microsoft and Nokia last year announced an alliance under which Microsoft is developing mobile versions of Office for use on Nokia's Symbian-based phones.

At Nokia, however, Elop will also be competing with his old boss. Symbian-powered phones will be among the rivals with which Microsoft will have to contend when it launches Windows Phone 7 later this year. Microsoft shares were off .69%, to $23.85, in afternoon trading Friday.

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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