REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 14, 2001 — Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer today named longtime industry veteran Rick Belluzzo as president and chief operating officer, and announced that Chief Operating Officer Bob Herbold, 58, has decided to retire. Herbold will continue to serve in a part-time capacity representing the company in industry, government and customer activities.
"Rick is stepping up to an even more crucial role in Microsoft's leadership team," said Ballmer. "He has the proven ability to create effective organizations, manage a diverse set of products and businesses, and make the tough decisions that will keep Microsoft moving forward on our priorities."
"We'll really miss Bob's experience and contributions on a daily basis, but I'm delighted that he will continue to work for me, representing Microsoft across a range of important activities," said Ballmer. "After six-and-a-half years at Microsoft and 26 years at Procter & Gamble, Bob has decided that now's the time to do some of the other things he's had in mind for some time, including some serious fly fishing."
Prior to joining Microsoft in September 1999, Belluzzo, 47, was CEO of Silicon Graphics Inc., and before that, executive vice president of Hewlett-Packard Co., with responsibility for HP's printer, personal computer, and computer systems and services businesses.
During his tenure, Belluzzo's team has made MSN® the most visited Web site in the world, the Xbox™ video game console has generated tremendous excitement before it has even launched, the Ultimate TV® service was unveiled, the .NET services division was created, and Microsoft has emerged as a leader in the development of next-generation wireless technologies.
As president and COO, Belluzzo will guide the company's business strategy and direct business operations, sales, marketing and business development, as well as Microsoft's emerging non-PC businesses.
"Microsoft is very well positioned for growth," said Belluzzo. "We've got an incredible year of new product and service launches ahead of us, including Windows XP and Office XP, and we're investing in next-generation technologies such as the .NET platform for customers. I'm excited about working even more closely with my colleagues on the senior leadership team to fine-tune our business processes and drive growth opportunities in our core businesses and in emerging technologies and services."
"As Rick transitions to his broader set of responsibilities, I will spend more time focusing on Microsoft's strategic direction and working closely with Bill and the leaders of our product teams -- including Jim Allchin, Jeff Raikes and Bob Muglia -- on our platform, productivity, enterprise and software services efforts," said Ballmer.
Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates praised Herbold's accomplishments and Belluzzo's strong management skills and experience. "Bob's steady hand and strong management skills over the past seven years have played a big part in Microsoft becoming a stronger, more mature and more cost-effective company," said Gates. "We have been fortunate to have such a strong senior management team, and Rick's proven management style will be a big plus in the years ahead."
Ballmer also announced the promotion of Deborah Willingham, 44, to senior vice president for Human Resources.
"People are Microsoft's most important resource, and in the year that Deborah Willingham has been leading Human Resources, she has applied critical thinking and strong leadership skills to further developing strategies and programs that enhance our recruiting, compensation, benefits, management development, diversity and workplace culture," said Ballmer.
Willingham joined Microsoft in 1993, and has more than 22 years of experience in the computer industry. Before assuming her current role, she served as vice president of Windows Division Marketing, which was responsible for the launch of the Windows 2000 family of products.
Ballmer also announced that John Connors, senior vice president of finance and administration and chief financial officer, would assume responsibility for Microsoft's Information Technology Group and for manufacturing/licensing operations in addition to his existing responsibilities.
"John's strong track record in finance and all aspects of Microsoft's business have and will continue to serve the company and our shareholders well," said Ballmer. "We look forward to having him assume these new responsibilities as well."
In addition to Belluzzo, business division leaders reporting to Ballmer will include Jeff Raikes, group vice president, Productivity and Business Services Group; and Jim Allchin, group vice president, Platforms Product Group.
Microsoft's Senior Leadership Team, which is responsible for key strategy decisions for the company, includes Ballmer, Belluzzo, Raikes, Allchin, Gates and Willingham, in addition to
Bob Muglia, group vice president, .NET Services Group; Orlando Ayala, group vice president, Worldwide Sales and Marketing Group; Craig Mundie, senior vice president, Advanced Strategies; David Vaskevitch, senior vice president, Business Applications Division; and Eric Rudder, vice president, Technical Strategy.
"The depth of experience and leadership at Microsoft is one of the key reasons for our success over the last 25 years and is one of the key reasons we will continue to be successful in the future," said Ballmer. "The talent runs deep across our product divisions, in operations and in sales and marketing."
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" ) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.
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