A leaked internal email from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to company employees offers more information on its new organizational changes, including confirmation that Executive Vice President Qi Lu is leaving.
The email, obtained by GeekWire, states what was reported earlier this morning about Lu leaving Microsoft due to health complications after a bicycle injury several months ago. Lu was the executive vice president of Microsoft's Applications and Services Group, which included the Office, Skype, Bing and other teams. Nadella stated that Lu will remain as an advisor to himself and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates after he recovers.
The email also repeated what Microsoft revealed earlier this morning in that Harry Shum will lead the company's newly formed Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Research Group. It adds that the Bing and Cortana teams that were a part of the Applications and Services Group will be moving to the new AI and Research Group. Nadella stated that the remaining divisions under the Applications and Services Group will now be lead by Rajesh Jha, and it will also get a new name: the Office Product Group.
That means Microsoft now has four divisions. They include the new AI and Research Group lead by Shum and the revamped and renamed Office Product Group that's headed up by Jha. The other two divisions are the Windows and Devices Group (including the Surface and Xbox businesses) that's lead by Terry Myerson, and finally the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group that is headed up by Scott Guthrie.
One more small change mentioned in Nadella's email is that Gurdeep Singh Pall, the head of the Skype team, will now be moving onto another, as yet unnamed role, at Microsoft. The Skype division will now be under the Office Product Group headed by Jha. The full email is posted below:
Today, I want to share key senior leadership changes.
First, my friend and colleague Qi Lu has made a difficult and very personal decision to leave Microsoft to focus all his time on recovering from health conditions caused by a prior injury. Once Qi recovers, he will continue to serve as a personal advisor to Bill Gates and me. I wish Qi a full and fast recovery in the coming months, and want to thank him for all he has done for Microsoft.
Over the years, I've worked closely with Qi – first as an engineering leader within Bing, later as fellow members of the SLT, and most recently as he led ASG to new heights. The groundbreaking work Qi led during his eight years resulted in many product advances and built the foundation for future innovation across Microsoft. Qi exemplifies what it means to have a deep sense of mission, purpose and authenticity in everything one does. His greatest impact is the people he has inspired. I count myself among them.
As we look ahead, this week at Ignite I focused my keynote on democratizing AI for every person and every organization on the planet. We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift in computing that is unlike anything we have seen in decades. This will lead to artificial intelligence (AI) being infused broadly into our computing platforms and experiences. Advanced algorithms, hyper-scale compute capacity, and the ability to work across massive data sets are what enable us to drive this change in everything we do for customers.
To accelerate this vision, I have asked Harry Shum to lead the Microsoft AI and Research Group, bringing together for the first time our world-class research organization alongside all our AI product efforts. David Ku and the Information Platform Group along with Derrick Connell and the Bing and Cortana Engineering Group will now report to Harry. Vijay Mital and the Ambient Computing and Robotics Team will also be joining Harry's team.
Rajesh Jha will step into the role of leading the Office Product Group reporting directly to me and joining the SLT starting today. Julie Larson-Green and Eran Megiddo will continue in their current and existing charters, reporting to Rajesh. Gurdeep Singh Pall and I have decided this is the right time for him to transition to his next role. Gurdeep will transition the Skype team to Rajesh over the coming weeks.
We have great momentum with Office 365 in both our business results and product innovation and have made dramatic strides in our evolution to offer productivity and communications as a service. We have much to do in support of our ambition to reinvent productivity, and I am counting on this team to move forward with boldness and urgency.
We live in a time when digital technology is impacting, and indeed transforming, every human endeavor and each of our customers. Our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more continues to guide all we do. It is through our mission and activating a growth mindset culture that will enable us to accelerate digital transformation both within our own company and in partnership with our customers.
Finally, I hope you join me for a special Monthly Q&A today at 9:00 a.m. PT. Harry, Rajesh and I look forward to sharing more and taking your questions.