Belluzzo out at Microsoft

In a surprise move, Microsoft has announced the departure of company president and COO, Rick Belluzzo. He has only been with the company for three years and been in his current post for just 12 months.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  April 4, 2002

In a surprise move, Microsoft has announced the departure of company president and COO, Rick Belluzzo. He has only been with the company for three years and been in his current post for just 12 months.

The Redmond giant has not named a replacement for Belluzzo and it seems that Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, will be the main beneficiary. In a related restructuring, the company will be split into six divisions all of which will report to Ballmer.

“Rick has worked closely with me analysing the company’s structure to determine how we could improve our internal processes and maximize opportunities for growth,” says Ballmer. “We realized we needed to give our core leaders deeper control and accountability in the way they run their businesses, while at the same time ensuring strong communication and collaboration across the business units. This is the right decision for Rick, but the company will certainly miss his leadership and experience,” he adds.

Analysts have been perplexed by the turn of events. Giga Information Group’s Rob Enderle told the BBC, “you don’t normally put someone in that role in order to take him out of there a few months later.”

At Microsoft, Belluzzo has focused on worldwide sales and marketing, directing business operations including HR, Finance and Licensing, and overseeing Microsoft’s games and TV platform efforts including the Xbox.

He was widely seen as a rising star at the company, which he joined after 23 years at Hewlett-Packard, following his quick move up from vice-president to president However, Belluzzo denied that his ambitions were focused on staying in Redmond.

“Given where Steve and I knew we needed to take the business, I decided it was the right time to pursue my goal of leading my own company,” Belluzzo comments. “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished at Microsoft, and I will miss the great people I’ve worked with over the past several years.”

Belluzzo will leave his current role on May 1, but he will continue to work for the company until September.

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