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Internal email from Satya Nadella offers more info on Microsoft leadership changes

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.Satya

35 Comments
  • There's a typo in the article: It should say "the Skype division will now be under the Office Product Group headed by Jha," not the Bing division.
  • Lu will remain as an advisor to himself Lu will remain an advisor to him [Nadella]. 'Himself' is reflaxive and refers to what Lu is doing to Lu (himself).
  • How about a change in his leadership status. That would we be welcomed.
  • You beat me to it. I was just thinking that the one that matters most needs a change
  • Why? Everything else is pretty much successful under his leadership. 
  • Except, you know, the mass firings.
  • Had to be done when you're shifting from the ill concieived "Devices and Services Company" that Ballmer was trying to create. This new strategy in conjunction with the layoffs have made it much easier to pivot to market demands in key areas of Cloud and Mobile. When you're lugging around the half-dead horse that was the Nokia devices division, your hands are effectively tied.
  • It's not his fault, it's Ballmer stubborn to buy Nokia. MS should only remain as a software/service provider, and produce some key high end products to lead the market, not to manufacture in the masses.
  • "Successful" is very opinion-driven. Personally, I have seen the hardware quality from the mobile and Xbox teams take a crazy nosedive of late, and the Bands have similarly had material problems that led to problems for those I know with then. I just had to deal with a crap setup in Office yesterday, where you cannot activate the product without an MS account--even though there is no need for it in using the software (not 365, not a personal machine). We have seen the Xbox Entertainment division tossed out, and that Halo show might as well be announced as dead, since updates on it are non-existent and I don't think many (if any) expect it to ever see the light of day. We saw massive closures of game studios and the Kinect thrown in the trash...after we were basically forced to buy it for the console's first half-year (under the guise it was a core feature and product). We have also seen half-baked become the gold standard for software releases at MS, which is far from a compliment. I see Nadella's leadership mostly represented by extreme frustration and terrible customer support.
  • This is why we can't take you seriously Keith. Xbox One S, major uplift over the original Xbox. Scorpio in the works. If you are editing in the Office UWP apps, you need a license, obtained via an MS account. If you download a 365 licenses product, again you need an MS account. Just like you need an Apple account for Apple Store Apps, or Google play for its store apps. Games studios have come and gone since the beginning of time. New IP rises, old IP saturates. Some can sustain yearly updates like FIFA, others like Assassins Creed struggle to. The markets decide, customers decide. MS just reacts to those trends. Windows 10 has been well received, even Windows Mobile 10 is in much better state than it first was. UWP is here, Xbox has UWP capability. If success (as most people would measure it) means, sales, revenue and profit - then MS is doing just fine. Your keyboard warrior hate is juvenile at best. A WP Central troll of the highest order.
  • "This is why we can't take you seriously Keith." Seeing this message ends with calling ME a troll, and starting with tthis, I'm not sure why I'm about to bother with this mess of hypocrisy. "Xbox One S, major uplift over the original Xbox." Personal opinion. The hardware is BARELY tweaked for the better, and I hate the color and design of it (never liked white devices and think the holes look bad). "Scorpio in the works." This sentence seems to have been the start of a thought never actually fleshed out. "If you are editing in the Office UWP apps, you need a license, obtained via an MS account. If you download a 365 licenses product, again you need an MS account. Just like you need an Apple account for Apple Store Apps, or Google play for its store apps." Yet another sign of the hypocrisy of calling me a troll. I clearly stated I didn't get Office 365. It's not even MY license. I work in IT, and we bought licenses for machines that we will not be using (they are for other staff off-site). They are for a business purpose, not personal, and we do not use Microsoft accounts at my work. You can go read hundreds of comments where people rail against this specific issue. I can't put a MS account I don't have onto a device that isn't mine, or for my use, it's just not logical. I say that as someone needing it for TWO devices (Surface Pro 3s, which seems to need mentioning when you have a clear agenda to call me anti-MS to get the approval of the masses). Now, imagine being one of thoe people I saw commenting, who had to deploy 200 devices, all for different people he does not directly work with. IS he supposed to go collect the personal information of all of these people to set up their Office accounts? It makes no sense. "Games studios have come and gone since the beginning of time. New IP rises, old IP saturates. Some can sustain yearly updates like FIFA, others like Assassins Creed struggle to. The markets decide, customers decide. MS just reacts to those trends." Really, that's the best you've got? Microsoft just tossed SEVERAL development teams aside. They didn't create new ones. They didn't create a single, new IP. The new IPs that are W10 exclusives are consistently either one-off releases (Ryse, Sunset, Quantum, D4, etc.), or losing that exclusive status (Titanfall, Dead Rising). In gaming, the only franchises that have managed to sustain annual releases are sports games and ones that have multiple development teams (CoD, Forza), not even sure why this point was brought up, but it's not the first one that you seemed to nonsensically throw in to increase the word length and sem like you're creating a strong argument. "Windows 10 has been well received, even Windows Mobile 10 is in much better state than it first was. UWP is here, Xbox has UWP capability." This all is relative. I have W10 and like it. My supervisor likes it. Most of my coworkers make little-too-no comments. Then some yell and moan. This is the general sentiment, that the majority are unaffected in daily routines, but MS has created headaches in weird places. That W10M is in a better state than it started isn't even a triumph, given it had a lot of ways in which is lagged behind its predecessor. The keyboard is still pretty bad, speaking as someone who used to type well on WP8, but now has the predictive/swipe texting making a mess of my messages. Groove is still can't catch up to Xbox Music, let alone Zune. I still have a metalcore band with the image tagging of a black, German R&B singer, and my randomized playlists now stop if the first song on the album comes up. Artist art still isn't getting lockscreen support, like we had 4 years ago. There literally isn't something I can say Groove Music does better in 2016 than Xbox Music did in 2012 (some might say gapless playback, but that has no real affect on my listening experience). It's caught up on most fronts, but there isn't a place where it's actually surpassed its predecessor. "If success (as most people would measure it) means, sales, revenue and profit - then MS is doing just fine." Depends on perspective. The money stuff is good, but I don't think their public perception is improved. Xbox is still a disappointment, even if it's making money. you can't argue that when this stie just posted that they had a goal of 200 million units and they'll be lucky to move 10% of that by Scorpio's arrival. W10M is now looking at its first reboot, and the fifth mobile overall since 2012, and we still can't get the app disparity even kind of closed. Microsoft's made things incredibly subscription-based, and it's not to the benefit of consumers, only itself. So, yeah, it makes money, but it's more leveraging a begruding clientele with its near-monopoly on some services like Office (Office 365 costs more for 1 year now than I paid for 3 PC licenses to keep permanently in 2008). "Your keyboard warrior hate is juvenile at best. A WP Central troll of the highest order." Again, you're not worth the words I even used. I bothered to provide lengthy, full thoughts. You had some random sentences not related to your own topics, and couldn't offer a legitimate defense of much I said. You call me a troll, when you had to resort to name calling at the end, and you had to do it twice to make sure you got the immature buzzwords in to sound like you won something.
  • Sure stock is up, investors are happy. But there is not one move he has made that will benefit the consumers like us. Every day they move further and further away from consumers like us. Eventually there will only be Windows, mainly used by enterprise and Xbox which I still believe may be spun off at some point. I am not saying Nadella hasn't been successful at what he is doing, I'm saying I don't agree with what he is doing. I don't agree with how he has handled the consumer side of anything. I don't agree with his strategy and vision of MS going forward. They will be a primarily enterprise company when he is done and any fan of MS, as a consumer who loves using their products, should be bothered by that.
  • What is Joe Belfiore doing these days?
  • Its a long time not heard of him.
  • Drinking mai tais on a beach somewhere....because it's clear hes not back at MS.  
  • He's back at MS, actually. Try looking up facts instead of guessing.
  • As far as I know there has been nothing official yet, just a tweet from Matthijs Hoekstra. Enlighten us if you know more.
  • Joe took a 9 month sabattical just over 8 months ago. He is a Vice President. Its very likely that that the guy who works at Microsoft, who said he saw Joe _at Microsoft_ was telling the truth, and therefore Joe is, or is just about to return to full time work. Steve Adams was wrong about Joe. He was also wrong on another thread today stating that MS don't make phones unlike Blackberry, who have 24 hours before his comment declared they will no longer manufacture phones. Please don't join Steve Adams by also being a silly billy :)
  • What's he doing then Daniel?
  • Apparently was back in the campus a few weeks ago. But total silence could mean he just went to clean the desk.
  • I believe that will answer the question if Windows 10 Mobile has a future or not. If there's not a path and real commitment to success, I bet he leaves or moved to something else.
  • taking pictures with an iPhone :P
  • Joe should be sacked.
    He was in charge at the time when MS missed the mobile boat. Do you remember:
    1. MS was trying to charge hardware partners for the OS?
    Google was giving away Android and actually pay partners to use their OS!
  • >He was in charge at the time when MS missed the mobile boat. I think he was appointed in 2010. 3 years after iPhone. Hardly his fault MS missed the smartphone boat. >Google was giving away Android and actually pay partners to use their OS! Do you remember what happened last time MS gave stuff away for free, and gave OEMs discounts for agreeing to use their OS only? :)
  • https://belfiore.land/ here he is, travelel around the world. Don't know if he came up with some new ideas for Win mobile.
  • My first comment here! My English is very bad lol, I help Translator ... Passing here to leave a big hug from Brazil :D.
  • Just a shame that Nadella isn't part of the staff changes.
  • Nadella is Gates protégé.
  • It seems MS is gone. Solid gone! W10 is a big fail not to mention the mobile. Gauss bell is telling the truth. Now you're up, next you're down. Next OS please!
  • You're joking right? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I find it curious that they are grouping "Windows" and "Devices" together in one group. Seems like it would inherently be either too big or too small for its own good. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The "core" runs everywhere, and the user experience is supposed to be very similar across all the device range. Seems logical to me.
  • I think Cortana should move to the "learn more languages for f*cks sake" group!
  • Satya Nadella is just another paper-pusher at Microsoft. His vision is the next quarter and it shows. 
  • Best news here is Skype moving into the Office group. Posted from my Nexus 5X