Departures look bad, but Satya Nadella’s leadership is not being called into question.
Two top Microsoft executives, one of whom was a contender for the company’s top job, are parting ways with the software and services giant according to a report by Re/Code.
The departure of Tony Bates, EVP of business development and evangelism and former Skype CEO, and EVP of marketing Tami Reller, is set to be announced on Tuesday but Microsoft employees were briefed on the matter on Friday by Nadella.
According to Re/Code’s report, Eric Rudder, executive vice president of advanced strategy, will take over Bates’ former duties, while Chris Capossela, one of the company’s marketing executives, will be replacing Reller.
Both of these departures are not entirely unexpected. As Bates was passed up for CEO, it is understandable that the potential for bad blood and rivalries that would have dominated boardroom politics. Reller, reportedly, had been quite confrontational with Ballmer and was in a constant power struggle with her colleagues at the executive level.
These departures shouldn’t be seen as an indictment of Nadella’s leadership. While both Bates and Reller were skilled operators, their departures are for understandable reasons. While Microsoft is still a very profitable company, if it wants to retain a substantial “impression share” with consumers it will have to undergo some radical changes. Nadella needs a board that is compliant and on his side in order to see the company through this transition.