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Tony Bates and Tami Reller reportedly leaving Microsoft (Confirmed)

Microsoft

Two senior leaders at Microsoft are expected to announce their departure from the company this Tuesday. Numerous sources tell Re/code that Tony Bates and Tami Reller will leave in a few days. Bates currently serves as EVP of Business Developer and Evangelism and was in the running for Microsoft’s CEO position at one point. Reller serves as EVP of Marketing and had her position diluted as her duties were somewhat split with Mark Penn, who serves as EVP of Advertising and Strategy.

Tony Bates joined Microsoft through the Skype acquisition, where he served as CEO. Before Skype, Bates held high positions at companies like Cisco and Internet MCI. He also at one point sat on the boards of both YouTube and LoveFilm.

It was fairly recent that Tony Bates was considered for Microsoft’s CEO position. Since the CEO spot was given to Satya Nadella, it’s not too surprising for Bates to want to leave Microsoft. He was CEO of Skype before this and almost became CEO of one of the words largest software company. It’s not hard to see why he’d want to leave and potentially look for other opportunities where he might become CEO. For example, he’s been offered the CEO position at GoPro before.

Tami Reller was in between a rock and a hard place. Mark Penn is currently the EVP of Advertising and Strategy. You’ll recall that Mark Penn is the former pollster and political strategist who has worked with the likes of U.S. President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He joined Microsoft in 2011 and is a longtime friend of Steve Ballmer.

Penn is also the guy behind the Scroogled advertising campaign. Which has been received with mix results by tech pundits, but might do ok with consumers. Either way, the set up with Reller and Penn having similar jobs put them at odds. Her departure (along with Bates) is expected to be announced this Tuesday. Although Reller will stay to help with the transition, while Bates leaves immediately.

Eric Rudder, EVP of Advanced Strategy, will temporarily take up Bates’ position. Chris Caposella, a Microsoft marketing executive, will take Reller’s duties.

This isn't the only recent changes made on the executive leadership team at Microsoft. Last week, Julie Larson-Green, EVP of Devices and Services, received a demotion

Update: Instead of announcing on Tuesday, Microsoft has today sent out a press release confirming the above changes to the senior leadership team. In the press release, CEO Satya Nadella shares changes to the leadership team that have come about in order for Microsoft to do its best work.

Tony Bates is leaving the company to pursue new opportunities. His position as EVP of Business Development and Evangelism will be given to Eric Rudder as an interim role. Eric will also continue in his normal role as EVP of Advanced Technology.

Nadella also announced that a single leader will run marketing for the company. That man is Chris Caposella, who will become the EVP and Chief Marketing Officer. Caposella will report directly to Nadella. This will allow Microsoft to deliver a single, coherent message across its products.

Mark Penn will now play a new leadership role as an EVP and Chief Strategy Officer. Mark and his team will use data to quickly evaluate and evolve Microsoft campaigns.

This means Tami Reller is out. She’ll stay to help support Chris Caposella in the transition period. After that she’ll pursue interests outside Microsoft.  

Source: MicrosoftRecode

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Reader comments

Tony Bates and Tami Reller reportedly leaving Microsoft (Confirmed)

94 Comments

He might be a star, but Skype needs to step it up big time and fix all their problems, not only with QoS, but security.

It's my opinion!!! Don't you know guys that the advertising of Microsoft was one of the worst? How am I going to miss them?

I wish Tony Bates the best. I think he would have been a way better choice for Microsoft's CEO position than Nadella's and so I understand he wants to leave the company. I just don't know why doesn't Julie do the same.

I wonder where Bates will go, though. Something tells me I wouldn't be surprised to see him take the path many other high placed people who left Microsoft took. And that is: leave through Redmond's door and enter through Mountain View's.

Satya is a much better option, just compare their work in the last few years. Satya led the bug push to cloud and made Azure a tool even non-Microsoft developers want to use while Skype before and after the acquision hasn't been doing so great as a product

And Skype became the most popular Microsoft service across devices. If Microsoft wanted to move more into the consumer market, picking up an enterprise guy with no charisma isn't really the best option in my opinion. But hey...lets see. Honestly my only faith on Microsoft's future is in the fact that Gates is back in control, pulling the strings behind Nadella. Otherwise...

Since when is Gates some great visionary? He is the guy who didn't see the Consumer use for the internet. And Skype is terrible. I hate thay they removed the regular chat app for something as disconnected as skype. Ive stopped using firstparty chat on Windows and currently use facebook. Im happy he is gone, he has done nothing to improve the situation in all his years at MS.

I'm sure Tony Bates did what he could especially with so many moving parts being integrated with Skype. Nadella hasn't won me over yet because a lot of work we're seeing at this moment is Ballmer's... But we'll see

An evangelist that clearly never loved MS that much and an EVP of Advertising and Strategy of a company known for its lack of decent marketing campaigns and strategies...

Well, I guess having these guys leaving will be a good thing, or at least will make no difference at all.

My thoughts exactly. MSFT's advertising for great products and services has been a disgrace when taking into account the amount of income those in control are compensated. Defending MSFT's marketing strategy is such a difficult task. Defending their OS and mobile devices is a totally different story.

OK, but I read also her lenghty articles defending Windows 8 and the Metro interface, or am I mistaking ?

And also Windows 8.1 still doesn't have a desktop start menu does it ?

Nah, Julie's not going anywhere :P It would be a huge surprise, and a huge downer for MSFT if Julie left.

I wish all who leave the best, it may help Microsoft or it may hurt only time will tell...hopefully a short time and a positive direction!

Good Riddance, Skype performs the worst on windows phone even though it is Microsoft owned since long now. And the marketing post is not even needed if you are going to do this kind of marketing job for your company.

Those Scroogled ads doesn't bother me one bit.  Actually I think they're great.  When other companies make fun of Microsoft it's all fun and games, but when Microsoft returns the favor then others get their feathers all ruffled.  But now that I know who's behind the commercials it makes a lot of sense now.  Straight out of the political commercial page.  :)

There's been a lot of change recently. Hopefully this will allow for more creativity and success.
Good luck to Reller and Bates.

Also:

"Although Reller will stay to help with the transition, Bates [will leave] immediately."

Skype has the chance to become something great if they get the right person to ramp it up. The name is right, so many technophobes I know mention it, the type that don't know their WiFi from their mobile internet. They talk about it like the talk about "Googling" something, when they mean search. They have a brand that is ripe for exploiting.

Yes, it'd be great if Skype were developed to realize the potential a lot of us on WP/W8 imagine for it. As a subscriber to it, I was frustrated that it wasn't as good an option as WhatsApp for my texting needs.

soooo much wasted potential here. there is no reason why skype shouldnt have as many users as google chat, fb messenger or whatsapp. it should be the dominant player in the market. yet another HUGE ball dropped by microsoft.

Skype WAS the dominant player when it came to Internet calls, it seemed to die in the arse though after the acquisition and things like Viber took over (although Skype is still popular).

True. iIt's almost like they hang it out there and just expect people to know and understand it. Skype can be so much better if it was integrated, but also the ENTIRE thing can use an overhaul.

Transition of WLM to Skype has been handled very poorly IMO. My family ran into so many issues. That alone made me wary of Tony Bates as high level player, let alone the next CEO.

 

Won't miss Tami Reller either because of poor ads I've seen of Windows 8 devices.  They probably need to fire the whole ad agency also because it seems as if someone there may actually be sabotising MS's objectives with intentionally bad ads. It sounds crazy but the way the ad industry is filled with Mac heads, I wouldn't be surprised.

Definitely something to think about as I too believe this scenario is possible. Subjective thinking, but there is logic to a certain degree. Samsung paid for negative reviews. In this day and age, there isn't anything that surprises me when competition is involved.

Not really surprised by either departure. Typical stuff when a new CEO takes over and inserts his/her gameplan into a company. Part of a reorg on the scale of MSFT's is that senior management positions will change/switch hands. Some of the old guard needs to move on for a new style and path to be implemented. The important thing for me isn't their departures, it's those who take over those positions. We'll see where it goes.

I wish them well on their next ventures, but I'm kinda glad to see Bates leave. His leadership of Skype doesn't exactly scream excellence. Plus, whatever he steps into next will be a new opportunity for him to succeed. As for Microsoft, a change in leadership is both expected and needed, so I'm glad to see Nadella position people he has confidence in and can work closely with.

As for Reller, I think she does a good enough job... certainly better than Penn... but she'll also move on and have new opportunities to shine.

I don't understand why everyone is blaming Tony Bates for Skype's problems after the MS acquisition. Before MS took over Skype, it was excellent. While at MS, Bates was not even involved with the development of Skype ( or lack thereof)... Please correct me if I am wrong.

ehmm Skype is still the same, a little better in desktop... the problem is mobile, and how people didnt use it for messaging because it didnt support something simple like "get message while other person is offline" how is that being better than before? Microsoft has to fix alot of issues they carry from Skype before adquisition... people still use it in desktop for too many things, when they play videogames, when they want to podcast, when they want to call their families, but it wasnt and still its not a perfect solution for mobile comunication and again, that problem came since before Skype adquisition.
so no, you are wrong, Microsoft has made it better, but nothing can be done in a day... but its taking long which is not good.

Ok. Agreed. But how is Bates responsible for the poor development of Skype. Was he still in charge of Skype development while at MS?

nah he wasnt, you are right, nobody can blame him for Skype today.

I was kinda arguing how Skype wasnt "excellent before" so I think you arent right about it, of course, as you say we cant blame him about Skype today, BUT we can still blame him, since he didnt do a better job with Skype and "mobile" when it wasnt owned by Microsoft and when he was President of Skype division at Microsoft, he didnt do the best either. so its like... we cant blame him, but still we can do it. but he is not leaving for Skype, he is probably leaving because he knows or was told he wasnt in Microsoft's plan. and end

Excuse me. Skype has never been excellent before Microsoft took over. The best I can say is that it was ok to use.The original Skype architecture was horrendous.

The new CEO is cleaning out the dead weight.  Probably a good thing. Next up and these headlines: Joe Belfiore gets the word is services is no longer needed. Meets with Eric Schmidt private meeting.

I know that this comment will be met with some level of backlash by one party or another, but I think it needs to be said:  The grammar mistakes in this article make it look pretty unprofessional.

Spotted a typo in the third paragraph: "almost became CEO of one of the words" should be "almost became CEO of one of the world's."

Just thought I should let you know :)

Tammi Reller was at one time head of business division before Satya took over, where I was situated. She could talk for an hour solid without taking a breath, whilst fully pregnant. Somewhat of a machine. :-)

Is that suppose to make her look better? Sorry but in my book, people who can talk for an hour straight without taking a breath have usually nothing of import to say.

Well as I remember, the content of the talk was fine. Its just an observation of her staying power. And very common for people at her level, in a company like Microsoft.

Where to next for these two. That's what the people want to know. Will they go to google as most people expect? Amazon or maybe even Apple? Or will they end up at MySpace turning it into the next big thing? Stay tuned to the next episode of Reller and Bates Excellent Adventure.

If Mark Penn is the "brains" behind the Scroogled campaign, then I hope he can fairly measure it's success or lack thereof. This consumer, and owner of a Lumia 920, thinks it's kind of stupid.

In fact bashing the competition and stooping to what Apple did with those knucklehead Microsoft and Apple Guy ads is a lame tactic, I humbly suggest. Maybe it's not, in terms of marketing results, but there ought to be measurements made and, only then, conclusions drawn.