Postscript: Transition at the Top

In the introduction to "Knowledge is Power," our December 2007 cover story profiling the 23 Microsoft executives that every partner should know, we included a single caveat: "Given the pace of change in Redmond, view this list as a constant work in progress."

That advice was more prescient than we realized. Within a few weeks, it was already time to update the roster as Microsoft announced that one of the highest-ranking figures on the list is moving on, to be replaced by another must-know executive.

Departing: Jeff Raikes, 49, president of the Microsoft Business Division, will retire in September 2008, after 27 years with Microsoft. Raikes oversees several areas of widespread interest to the partner community, including the Microsoft Dynamics business apps, the Information Worker, Server & Tools Business and the Microsoft Office productivity suite (one Directions on Microsoft analyst has dubbed Raikes "the godfather of Office" for his role in driving the system's sales). He also oversaw the launch of Microsoft's Unified Communications initiative last year.

Raikes, who came to Microsoft from Apple Inc. in 1981, had also served as vice president of Redmond's Worldwide Sales and Support Group, senior vice president of Microsoft North America and group vice president of the Information Worker Business (which included the Office system). In his most recent job, which he'd held since September 2005, Raikes clearly created plenty of value for Microsoft: Company officials noted that his division's business nearly doubled during his tenure, generating $16 billion in annual revenues.

Raikes didn't give a specific reason for retiring and, at press time, hadn't revealed his specific plans for his post-Microsoft life. While the announcement about his departure surprised many industry observers, analysts say that it doesn't appear to signal the start of a mass exodus from Microsoft.

Arriving: Stephen Elop, 44, formerly chief operating officer of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper Networks Inc., is replacing Raikes as Business Division president. Elop started at Microsoft in January, working with Raikes on the transition.

At Juniper, a network-infrastructure developer and Certified Partner, Elop oversaw the company's corporate development, all product groups, the global sales and service functions and the manufacturing and marketing operations.

Previously, he was vice president of worldwide field operations at Adobe Systems Inc., overseeing that San Jose, Calif.-based company's global sales organization and customer functions. Earlier, he was president and CEO of Macromedia Inc. (which Adobe acquired in 2005). His other senior positions at Macromedia included COO, executive vice president of worldwide field operations and general manager of Macromedia's e-business division.

At press time, Elop hadn't yet made public his plans for the division, saying only in a press release that he looks forward "to building on the great foundation Jeff and his team have established."

About the Author

Anne Stuart, the former executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner, is a business technology freelance writer based in Boston, Mass.