Another executive shakeup at Microsoft

Rumor: Biz development head Bates, marketing chief Reller call it quits

Just a month after Satya Nadella took over as Microsoft CEO the executive inner circle is being overhauled, with two key leaders leaving the company and a third assuming significant new power.

Tony Bates and Tami Reller

Executive vice presidents Tony Bates, the former CEO of Skype, and Tami Reller, who cut her teeth on Windows, are leaving the company, according to a post by Kara Swisher on re/code.

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Bates had reportedly been a top contender for CEO and was serving as head of business development and evangelism. Reller was head of marketing.

Bates' job will be filled temporarily by Executive Vice President Eric Rudder, who is in charge of advanced strategy, according to the report.

Reller’s job is being expanded and filled by Chris Capossa, a Microsoft marketing executive who will now be executive vice president of both marketing and advertising, the report says.

Both Bates and Reller were in ambiguous jobs under a reorganization put in place last year by outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer.

Reller was named executive vice president of marketing under that new management scheme, but Reller essentially had to share the job with Mark Penn, another executive vice president, who “will take a broad view of marketing strategy and will lead with Tami the newly centralized advertising and media functions.”

Similarly, Bates had uncertain duties and power in dealing with manufacturing partners. Under the Ballmer reorganization, “OEM will remain in [the sales marketing and services group] with Kevin Turner with a dotted line to Tony who will work closely with Nick Parker on key OEM relationships.” At best he had fragmented authority.

Bates came onboard at Microsoft when the company bought Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011. Reller was brought into Microsoft when it bought Great Plains Software in 2001. Earlier she was both the chief financial officer and the chief marketing officer for Microsoft’s Windows division, which was moved into the operating systems division under Ballmer’s reorganization. She assumed her role as executive vice president when Ballmer reorganized.

News of this latest shakeup comes just a week after Nadella cleared room at the top for Stephen Elop, the former CEO of Nokia who is joining the company as an executive vice president in charge of devices and studios when Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia is finalized.

That means the current occupant of the slot, Julie Larson-Green, will move over and down to the newly created position of chief experience officer (CXO) in which she will report to another executive vice president Qi Lu, who is in charge of applications (Office, SharePoint, Yammer, Lync, Skype) and services (Bing and MSN).

According to an email Larson-Green sent to her staff and published by Mary Jo Foley in her All About Microsoft blog  Elop is scheduled to step into his new role immediately once Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s phone business is complete. Meanwhile, Larson-Green will continue her current role.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at and follow him on Twitter @Tim_Greene.

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