In a blog post this morning, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that long-time COO Kevin Turner would be leaving after 11 years at the company.
Nadella gave the expected platitudes in the announcement, while thanking Turner for his service to the organization.
“He built the sales force into the strategic asset it is today with incredible talent while at the same time more than doubling our revenue and driving customer satisfaction scores to the highest in company history,” he wrote in the blog post announcing Turner’s departure.
Turner was actually a key figure at Microsoft and was involved in everything from sales and marketing to product development, and after over a decade at the company in which included many changes internally and in the industry at large, perhaps he was ready to move on to a new challenge.
In fact, his job was so integral to the organization and touched so many areas that Nadella announced that he wanted to spread out those responsibilities moving forward, rather than concentrating all of that control in a single job function. No less than five people will be taking over Turner’s duties, according to the blog post.
Of the five, R Ray Wang, founder and and principal analyst at Constellation Research sees Judson Althoff, who will head the worldwide commercial business and Jean Phillipe Courtois, who will take over global sales and marketing operations as key and good signal ahead of next week’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto.
“Kevin’s departure is a mutual win-win. He gets to become a CEO while Judson and Jean Phillipe move into the the sales leadership team. This means new life and vigor and Satya’s continued stamp on the new Microsoft,” Wang told TechCrunch.
Turner’s exit follows the departure of four fellow executives last June, which included former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who was head of the company’s device group at the time of his departure; Mark Penn, EVP and Strategy Officer; Eric Rudder, who was in charge of advanced technology and Kirill Tatarinov head of business solutions.
There is always going to be turnover when a new leader comes onboard and those departures were due in large part to a reorganization Nadella undertook after taking over as CEO in 2014.
Turner was reportedly on the short list to replace Ballmer before Nadella was promoted, and there were rumors he had been difficult to work with. One source, who chose not to be identified said he was a “bulldog and an impediment.” The source went onto say it was a mutual decision and Nadella was ready for him to go, in spite of the platitudes in the blog post announcing his departure.
Whatever the reason, he’s moving on and with each departure from the old guard left from the days of former CEO Steve Ballmer, Nadella is consolidating is his influence over the organizational direction.