Two of Microsoft's top executives will leave, the company confirmed today, signaling more change as it pivots to become a devices and services seller.
Tony Bates, currently the executive vice president in charge of business development and evangelism, and Tami Reller, who now heads all marketing for the Redmond, Wash. company, will step down.
On Monday, Microsoft published an email from CEO Satya Nadella confirming the news, which was initially reported Sunday by Re/code.
"Tony Bates has decided this is the right time for him to look for his next opportunity," Nadella wrote in this company-wide email. "[Tami Reller] will then take time off and pursue other interests outside the company."
The changes were not unexpected. Last month, Randy Ottinger of Kotter International, a Cambridge Mass. consultancy that specializes in leadership change and setting corporate strategy, predicted that Satya Nadella, the new CEO appointed Feb. 4, would craft his own team of top executives.
One of the first things on Nadella's to-do list, Ottinger said last month, was just that. "Who's on my leadership team, who is my cabinet? Who am I betting on to shape the future of the company?" Ottinger said, naming that work as No. 2 on Nadella's first-100-days list.
A new CEO, even one from inside a company, typically purges at least some of the senior executives, Ottinger said. Changing the guard will make the team Nadella's rather than have him accept people who were beholden to former CEO Steve Ballmer for their jobs.
"This was no surprise," agreed Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, in a Monday interview. "Nadella will want people who are loyal to him."
Bates' job will be given temporarily to Eric Rudder, who now leads the Advanced Strategy group. It appears Bates has already left the company, as his photograph and biographic sketch have been scrubbed from Microsoft's website.
Reller will be replaced by Chris Capossela, a corporate vice president who oversees the consumer channels group, but who has held several marketing positions in Microsoft in his 22 years with the company. Capossela is to assume all advertising duties as well as marketing.
Mark Penn, the longtime political and media strategist who was hired by Microsoft in mid-2012, will drop advertising and focus on new product and investment strategies, with a new title of Chief Strategy Officer. Penn is best known for creating the "Scroogled" campaign that took shots at Google with a series of attack ads.
From Nadella's email, it sounded like Reller had been pushed out. "I have decided we need a single leader running marketing for the company, and have asked Chris Capossela to take on this role as EVP [executive vice president] and Chief Marketing Officer, reporting to me," Nadella said. "I have talked about the premium we need to place on getting very, very focused on things that we can uniquely do. Tami Reller agrees with the go-forward approach of a single marketing leader and will support Chris through his transition into his new role."
Reller held the title EVP Marketing prior to today.