Well that didn’t take long. Kara Swisher scooped the news that only weeks after Microsoft appointed new CEO Satya Nadella, a couple of his direct reports are moving on. Tony Bates, EVP of business development and evangelism and Tami Reller, EVP of marketing are both leaving the company.
In the case of Reller, it appears she came off second best in a show-down with EVP of advertising and strategy Mark Penn. While Reller moves on, Penn apparently gets a new role as EVP of strategy while Chris Capossela will be in charge of all advertising. Reller has been with the company since 2001 covering a number of roles including CMO and CFO (an unusual double billing) for the Windows unit. Interestingly Reller came to Microsoft via its acquisition of ERP vendor Great Plains and, while Reller went on to better things (at least until recently), the Great Plains product has languished somewhat in the Dynamics unit. Reller will reportedly stay on temporarily to help with the transition.
Bates on the other hand will leave immediately – he was one of the internal candidates for CEO and reportedly told Nadella that he couldn’t commit long term to the company. Bates has other CEO offers to mull over, and is reported to be a well-regarded tech executive. Given his failed run for the top-job, it’s probably a good thing that he moves on quickly.
All these changes (and, one assumes, many more to come) are to be expected with a changing of the guard. Nadella is a very different operator than his predecessor Steve Balmer and hence wants to stamp his own style on the executive team. It will be interesting to see the other movers and shakers in the leadership team, especially given Nadella’s strong cloud focus. One executive to watch will be Scott Guthrie – currently corporate VP for the Azure team but quite possibly a strong candidate for promotion.