Chief Product Officer Panos Panay is out at Microsoft, reportedly heading to Amazon

Update: Speaking of Dave Limp, Panay is reportedly heading over to Amazon next, where he will resume the same role. We have reached out to Amazon for comment. Both companies holding devices events this week, so things are about to get interesting. Microsoft’s event will likely be focused on Surface products, Panay’s long time focus, while Amazon will almost certainly be announcing a number of Echo/Alexa products. Bringing on someone with PC experience could mark a shift in focus for the division, which was impacted by last year’s Amazon layoffs.

Chief Product Officer and longtime Surface evangelist Panos Panay is out at Microsoft, the executive has confirmed. The news arrives days before a New York City event set to debut new Surface hardware.

Panay had been at Microsoft for nearly 20 years, beginning with a stint as Group Program Manager, PC hardware, back in 2004. After an eight-year stint as Corporate VP of Microsoft Devices, the executive was appointed to his most recent role in 2018. During his time at Microsoft, Panay was well known for his impassioned Surface presentations.

Panay announced the news via Twitter this morning, noting, “After 19 incredible years at Microsoft, I’ve decided to turn the page and write the next chapter. I’m forever grateful for my time at Microsoft and the amazing people I had the honor to make products with.”

Microsoft has now confirmed the news, as well. “Thank you, Panos, for your impact on our products, culture, company, and industry over the past two decades,” CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement offered to TechCrunch. “I’m grateful for your leadership, support, and all you’ve done for Microsoft and our customers and partners. As Rajesh stated, we remain steadfast and convicted in our strategy and Yusuf Mehdi will take lead on our Windows and Surface businesses and products externally.”

In an email to the devices team, EVP Rajesh Jha writes:

Panos has had an incredible impact on our products and culture as well as the broader devices ecosystem. Under Panos’ leadership, the team created the iconic Surface brand with loved products. More recently, as the leader of Windows, the team has brought amazing services and experiences to hundreds of millions with Windows 11 on innovative devices including those from 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.

In Panay’s absence, a number of roles are being shifted as part of the transition.

The news comes a month after another high-profile hardware executive announced his exit. In August, Amazon’s hardware chief Dave Limp confirmed he would be stepping down by the end of the year.