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March 04, 2014

Comings & Goings: Changes at the Top of Microsoft Continue with the Departure of Two Key Executives

The shake-up at the top executive layer of Microsoft (News - Alert) has a new chapter today. The company, which recently appointed a new CEO, Satya Nadella, will be losing its executive vice president of business development and evangelism Tony Bates (News - Alert) as well as the executive vice president of marketing, Tami Reller, according to rumors. Both Bates and Reller would have been direct reports to Nadella. There was no information available about whether the two have accepted jobs elsewhere, or why they are leaving. Rumors of the departures were first broken on Sunday by Kara Swisher for Re/Code.

Bates is the former CEO of Skype (News - Alert) and became a Microsoft employee when the software giant acquired the voice over IP service. EVP of advanced strategy Eric Rudder will replace him on an interim basis while continuing to carry  on his own job.

Tami Reller, the compay’s top female executive, has been heading Microsoft’s marketing department for about eight months. A company employee since 2001, she has held CFO positions across the company, for Microsoft Dynamics, the Product and Services Division and Windows. Most recently, she headed marketing and finance for the Windows Surface tablet products. In an email announcing the departures, CEO Nadella noted that Reller, who will stick around to see the transitions through, will then “take time off and pursue other interests outside the company.”

“This change in marketing structure provides an opportunity for Mark Penn to play a new leadership role at the company as EVP, Chief Strategy Officer,” said Nadella in his email. “Mark brings a blend of data analysis and creativity that has led to new ways of working and strong market outcomes such as the “Honestly” campaign and the Super Bowl ad, both of which were widely cited as examples of high impact advertising across the industry.”

According to Swisher, the departure of Bates is unsurprising after the appointment of Nadella to CEO, as Bates would have been one of the top internal candidates for that job.

“While Bates does not seem to have immediate plans that I could garner, he has had several CEO offers in recent months — IPO-bound GoPro (News - Alert) among them — and is a well-regarded and well-liked exec in tech,” wrote Swisher. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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