Disney IT exec answers Microsoft's CIO casting call

Vendor taps Tony Scott, CIO at the entertainment company, to run its tech operations

Microsoft Corp. announced today that it has hired The Walt Disney Co.'s top IT executive to fill its open CIO position, a move that continues the software vendor's recent string of management hirings from outside the company.

Microsoft said that Tony Scott, who was the first CIO at Disney to manage IT on a companywide basis, will begin managing its 4,000-person IT organization in February. Scott, 56, takes over the CIO job previously held by Stuart Scott, who was fired by the software vendor in November for violating unspecified company policies. The two men are not related, according to Microsoft.

According to a spokesman for Microsoft, Tony Scott will have the same responsibilities as his predecessor, who found a new job as chief operating officer at a Florida-based mortgage lender within two weeks of his firing.

The CIO at Microsoft is responsible for all of the systems that support the company's worldwide sales, marketing and services operations, as well as the ones used to run all corporate processes.

Since November, the CIO job has been shared on an interim basis by Shahla Aly, general manager of worldwide services, strategy and planning, and Alain Crozier, corporate vice president and chief financial officer in Microsoft's sales, marketing and services group.

Aly and Crozier will resume their prior duties once Tony Scott joins the company, the Microsoft spokesman said. He declined to say whether the two had been considered for the permanent job or to elaborate on other aspects of the CIO search.

Scott will also be a corporate vice president at Microsoft and will report to Kevin Turner, the company's COO. Microsoft credited Scott with leading a major IT transformation during his time at Disney, which included training IT staffers in disciplines such as process delivery, service management and use of the IT Infrastructure Library specifications.

Before being hired by Disney, Scott worked as chief technology officer at General Motors Corp. and was vice president of operations at Bristol-Meyers Squibb Co.

Many new faces have been added to the upper-management ranks at Microsoft over the past six months. Last week, for example, Microsoft announced that longtime executive Jeff Raikes, president of its business division, will leave the company in September. The software vendor named Stephen Elop, formerly COO at Juniper Networks Inc., to replace Raikes.

Other new hires by Microsoft since last July include Dan Reed, director of scalable and multicore computing at Microsoft Research; Robert Youngjohns, president of North American sales and marketing and a corporate vice president; Brian McAndrews, senior vice president of the advertiser and publisher solutions group; and Don Mattick, senior vice president of the company's interactive entertainment business unit.

Apart from CEO Steve Ballmer and Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment & devices division, many of the software vendor's top executives have joined the company within the past three years. That includes Turner as well as Ray Ozzie, who replaced Bill Gates as Microsoft's chief software architect in 2006. Both Turner and Ozzie were hired in 2005, as was Steve Berkowitz, senior vice president of Microsoft's online services group.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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