As expected, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella confirmed a shakeup in top management, also writing in an employee email about company culture themes of togetherness, commitment and meaningful work.
Chris Capossela, Microsoft's new chief marketing officer.
As expected, Microsoft (MSFT) chief executive Satya Nadella confirmed in a publicly disseminated email to employees earlier reports on the departures of Marketing Executive Vice President Tami Reller and Business Development and Evangelism Executive Vice President Tony Bates, along with Chris Capossela’s ascension, Eric Rudder’s interim duties, and Mark Penn’s changed role.
As Bates and Reller leave, here’s the new lineup:
- Capossela rises to executive vice president and chief marketing officer (CMO), reporting directly to Nadella.
- Rudder, Microsoft’s current Advanced Strategy vice president, will handle Bates’ responsibilities on an interim basis.
- Mark Penn drops his advertising duties to focus exclusively on strategy as executive vice president and chief strategy officer, also reporting to Nadella.
Right now there’s no word on a permanent Bates replacement.
While it’s standard fare for newly installed chief executives to remake their executive teams as they see fit, it’s relatively new territory for Microsoft—Nadella is only the third CEO in the company’s 38-year history, and the first in 14 years since former chief Steve Ballmer took the helm. It’s not that the vendor hasn’t frequently remade its executive teams, it’s that it hasn’t done it with a new chief executive.
In his email, Nadella’s buzzwords and phrases imply he’s trying to fashion a kindler, gentler Microsoft, quite different from Ballmer’s hard charging, take-no-prisoners behemoth. Here’s a sampling of Nadella’s “togetherness” theme:
- “We all need to do our best work, have broad impact and find real meaning in the work we do.”
- “Coming together as teams fuels this on a day-to-day basis.”
- “Having the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) set the pace and example means a lot to me.”
- “I ... have asked for [the SLT’s] all-in commitment …”
As for Nadella’s SLT makeover, here are some excerpts from the email:
Tony Bates has decided this is the right time for him to look for his next opportunity.
Tami Reller agrees with the go-forward approach of a single marketing leader and will support Chris through his transition into his new role. She will then take time off and pursue other interests outside the company.
I have talked about the premium we need to place on getting very, very focused on things that we can uniquely do. How we articulate our value, how we market our message, how we deliver that value to customers through our advertising and other channels, all have to tie into an overarching strategy.
His focus on using data to quickly evaluate and evolve our campaigns has driven new insights and understanding. Mark and his team also will continue to provide input in the area of competitive research and analysis.
Eric Rudder will serve as interim leader responsible for Business Development and Evangelism, while continuing in his current role.
Finally, to further emphasize his “togetherness,” theme, Nadella wrote about a book he’d read chronicling the University of Washington’s 1936 Olympics crew team and written by Daniel James Brown, formerly a 10-year Microsoft employee. Nadella specifically called out Brown’s description of all eight crew members working in concert to find the boat’s optimal “swing,” that sport’s version of every oarsmen working in concert toward a single goal.
“As a company, as a leadership team, as individuals, that is our goal - to find our swing,” Nadella wrote.