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Stephen Elop to leave Microsoft in senior exec reshuffle

CEO Nadella sharpens axe once more, prepares to shave top positions

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he and Elop (pictured) ‘have agreed’ that the Devices chief should retire.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he and Elop (pictured) ‘have agreed’ that the Devices chief should retire.

Stephen Elop, head of Microsoft’s devices unit and former CEO of Nokia, is to leave the company as part of a slim-down and reshuffle of senior management at the Redmond-based software giant.

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Elop moved to Nokia in September 2010, from a senior position at Microsoft where he had been in charge of products such as Office and Dynamics. After less than six months as CEO, he elected to phase out the company’s legacy mobile OS, Symbian, in favour of the mobile version of Microsoft Windows.

When Nokia’s market share of the mobile phone market tumbled, its devices wing was sold to Microsoft for $7.2bn under Elop’s leadership and the CEO moved to back to Microsoft as Devices chief. Finnish media accused Elop of being Microsoft’s “Trojan horse”, a charge he has vehemently denied.

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While waiting to take the reins at the Devices unit, Elop was also named by some media outlets as a possible successor to Steve Ballmer, in the CEO race that eventually saw the appointment of Satya Nadella.

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According to several online media reports, Elop will be joined at the Microsoft exit ramp by Kirill Tatarinov, president of Business Solutions; Eric Rudder, executive vice president of Advanced Strategy; and Mark Penn, executive vice president and chief strategy officer responsible for the launch of anti-Google site Scroogled.

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Nadella’s shake-up will include the creation of new departments. Elop’s Devices unit will be merged with the Operating Systems division to spawn the Windows and Devices Group (WDG), to be run by EVP Terry Myerson.

"We are aligning our engineering efforts and capabilities to deliver on our strategy and, in particular, our three core ambitions," Nadella said. "This change will enable us to deliver better products and services that our customers love at a more rapid pace.

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"With the structural change described above, Stephen [Elop] and I have agreed that now is the right time for him to retire from Microsoft. I regret the loss of leadership that this represents, and look forward to seeing where his next destination will be."