Microsoft's chief operating officer Kevin Turner is leaving the company to become CEO of finance giant Citidel Securities.
Turner (pictured), who joined Microsoft as its COO 11 years ago, will leave on 31 July.
Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella described Turner's impact on the business as "tremendous", adding that he built the company's sales force into a "strategic asset".
The announcement of Turner's departure comes as Microsoft prepares to rejig its SMSG (sales and marketing services group). Judson Althoff will now lead the company's global commercial business, while Jean-Philippe Courtois heads up its global sales, marketing and operations group. Chris Capossela will now be in charge of its global marketing and consumer business, Kut DelBane will take on responsibility for IT and operations (in addition to corporate strategy), and CFO Amy Hood will lead the SMSG finance team on top of her current role.
Turner was well known among the partner community for his lively presenting style and direct comments about the competitive landscape. At Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference last year, the likes of Google and VMware came in for a tongue-lashing from Turner during his keynote address. Prior to today's announcement, Turner was announced as a speaker for this year's WPC, which kicks off on Sunday.
Since Turner joined Microsoft more than a decade ago – when the company was run by Steve Ballmer – Microsoft has transformed significantly from both a technology standpoint, and in terms of company culture, said Stuart Fenton, chief executive of Microsoft partner QuantiQ.
"Microsoft is clearly changing and evolving from one culture to another," he said. "I think the new culture appears to be more focused on the strategy and effective execution of that strategy, as opposed to table banging and score cards. This, to some degree, has been enormously effective in making the company efficient, but at the same time, has had a significant cultural downside which will take a couple of years to dial back to a more sensible level.
"My understanding is that each country manager has pages and pages of score cards they are measured against and I think there is a line, which I myself have crossed, where you going from being a well-managed company to being paralysed by score cards. To some degree, that's where they landed."
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