Panos Panai, Microsoft’s chief product officer, talks about Windows 11 at a live-streamed Windows 11 launch event on June 24, 2021.
Microsoft’s chief product officer, Panos Panai, is leaving the software and hardware maker, Microsoft executive vice president Rajesh Jha told employees on Monday.
The change marks a changing of the guard after more than a decade of sales of Microsoft’s Surface PCs, which Panay introduced to consumers at company events. Shallow sales have failed to keep pace with the growth of cloud services, and Windows, a lucrative revenue stream, has not returned to growth after the pandemic unleashed a buying frenzy.
But the company is not abandoning these two areas.
“We remain steadfast and committed to our strategy and Yousef Mahdi will take the lead on our Windows and Surface products and businesses externally,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. Mehdi, who joined Microsoft in 1992, is Microsoft’s chief consumer marketing officer.
As part of the changes, Charles Simonyi, who led development of Microsoft’s popular Word and Excel applications, will join the management teams for the experiences and devices group for which Jha is responsible, Jha wrote in his memo to employees. Simone, now 75, returned to Microsoft in 2017 as a technical fellow when the company acquired his startup Intentional Software.
“Our commitment to Surface and MR remains unchanged,” Jha wrote, referring to mixed reality, a category that includes Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality devices.
The leadership changes that include Panos’ departure will take effect immediately, just three days before Microsoft holds an event in New York where the company is expected to announce its next generation of Surface devices.
After 10 years on the market, Surface has failed to gain more than a few percentage points of market share in PC shipments, even though the hardware designs have inspired other hardware makers selling Windows-based devices. Microsoft receives revenue from licenses sold to these hardware makers.
Panay joined Microsoft in 2004 as a program manager for the Computer Software group. He assumed additional leadership of Windows, the world’s leading personal computer operating system, starting in 2020. Since 2021, he has been part of the company’s senior leadership team. He has not yet announced his future plans.
“After 19 wonderful years at Microsoft, I decided to turn the page and write the next chapter,” he said. books On X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “I am forever grateful for the time I spent at Microsoft and the amazing people I had the privilege of creating products with.”
Read the full memo below.
After nearly 20 years with the company, Panos Panai has decided to leave Microsoft. Panos has had an incredible impact on our products and culture as well as the broader hardware ecosystem. Under Panos’ leadership, the team has created the iconic Surface brand with beloved products. Most recently, as a Windows leader, the team has delivered amazing services and experiences to hundreds of millions of people using Windows 11 on innovative devices including those offered by our OEM partners. He will be missed, and I am personally very grateful for his many contributions over the years. Please join me in wishing him well.
Going forward, we will double down on our strategy. These changes will be effective immediately with Panos’ assistance in the transfer process.
- Build silicon, systems, and devices that span Windows, client, and cloud for an AI world. This team will be led by Pavan Davuluri, who will report directly to me. Brett Ostrom, Nino Storniolo, Linda Averett, Ken Bunn, Ralph Groney, Aidan Marcos, Carlos Picotto, Stevie Bathich, Robin Sailer, Ruben Caballero and Anuj Gosalia will move on to report to Pavan with their teams intact. Windows planning and release management will continue in this team. Our commitment to Surface and MR remains unchanged.
- Create experiences that blend Web, Services, and Windows for an AI world. To this end, Shilpa Ranganathan, Jeff Johnson and Ali Akgün will report directly to Mikhail Parakhin and form a new Windows and Web Experiences team, moving with their teams intact.
- Youssef Mahdi will be responsible for leading the Windows and Surface businesses with our OEM and retail partners.
Additionally, Charles Simonyi, Terry Chodzik and Erin Kolb will join the E+D management teams and Ralph Groene and Mike Davidson will work together to best align the design teams.
We will schedule an AMA in the coming days to answer questions. Let us continue to focus on implementing our current plans. Thank you for everything you do, and the impact you make on our customers and partners.
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