Satya Nadella Returns Stephen Elop To Microsoft Fold

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Return of the prodigal son as Microsoft CEO brings back former Nokia man Stephen Elop

Satya Nadella has filled the spot he vacated when he took over for Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft on 4 February.

And he has also returned the former boss of Nokia to the Microsoft fold, despite the fact that Stephen Elop was reportedly considered for the CEO role.

Cloud Boss

Nadella announced in a March 31 email to Microsoft staffers that Scott Guthrie, who had been acting as the Cloud and Enterprise chief for the company, has been promoted to executive vice president of the division, Nadella’s old post. “As you know, Scott has been a very public and passionate evangelist for many of our most important developer and infrastructure businesses,” wrote Nadella.

Guthrie has emerged as an outspoken supporter of the software giant’s cloud efforts and has gained a reputation as one of the go-to providers of insights on the technical workings of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. In his ScottGu’s Blog, Guthrie frequently delves into how-tos, walk-throughs and FAQs on helping enterprises get up and running on Azure and transition workloads to the cloud.

Guthrie occupying the top spot in the company’s Cloud and Enterprise division dovetails neatly with Microsoft’s new “cloud-first” approach to software and IT services. Nadella noted in his email that since joining the company in 1997, Guthrie “has made critical contributions to .NET and other pivotal technologies that help power the Microsoft ecosystem today, and most recently has been the driver behind the unprecedented growth of Microsoft Azure.”

Guthrie, added Nadella, knows how to build and sustain an ecosystem. He wrote, “Scott has shown incredible energy and insight into how we create technology that others can build on, and which can be built on what others have created.”

Stephen Elop MWC 2013Prodigal Son

Big changes are also afoot on the mobile device and Xbox fronts. Stephen Elop, the former CEO of Nokia, is joining Microsoft as executive vice president of the Microsoft Devices Group. Elop reportedly at one point was in the running for the CEO position at Microsoft after Ballmer announced his retirement after 13 years at the helm of the software maker.

Nadella stated that he had worked closely with Elop “when he was previously a senior leader with Microsoft, as a key partner during his tenure as Nokia CEO, and again in the last several months as we’ve worked through the initial stages of integration planning.” Nadella added that he expects Microsoft’s $7 billion (£4.2bn) acquisition of Nokia’s devices unit to be completed in April.

Finally, the Xbox division has a new boss. Phil Spencer will lead the unit and spearhead the integration of the “Xbox and Xbox Live development teams with the Microsoft Studios team,” stated Nadella. Squashing rumors that Microsoft may shed Xbox as it pursues its new cloud and devices vision, Nadella revealed that Spencer “will report to Terry Myerson, allowing us to keep gaming close to the group developing operating systems across devices.”

The changes, suggested Nadella, will help the company capitalise on the momentum that it has been steadily building over the past several months. “The announcements last week [Office for iPad and Enterprise Mobility Suite], our news this week [during the Build conference], the Nokia acquisition closing soon, and the leaders and teams we are putting in place are all great first steps in making this happen,” he said.

Last month, Nadella presided over an executive shake-up that included the exits of Tony Bates, the former Skype CEO, and Tami Reller, who served as both chief marketing officer and chief financial officer. Chris Capossela took over as chief marketing officer, and Mark Penn was named chief strategy officer.

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Originally published on eWeek.

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