Microsoft EVP Eric Rudder To Lead New 'Advanced Strategy' Unit

Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Wednesday signaled another high-level change within Microsoft's executive ranks.

Eric Rudder, whom Ballmer tapped during this summer's corporate reorg to be executive vice president of the Advanced Strategy and Research Group, will now be the executive vice president of Advanced Strategy, a newly created position, Ballmer announced in an internal e-mail.

"As we continue our transformation to a company that delivers high-value activities through devices and services, it is critical that a senior leader is accountable for certain key, cross-company technology initiatives," Ballmer said. "In this new role, Eric will do just that."

Though he is not often in the limelight, Rudder has held many key technical positions within Microsoft, and was once considered a front-runner for Microsoft CEO. After Ballmer's companywide reorg in July, Rudder became responsible for Microsoft's "overall technical strategy, technology policy and forward-looking development efforts," according to his corporate bio.

Before that, Rudder has served as Microsoft's chief technical officer, been a former technical assistant to Microsoft Founder and Chairman Bill Gates, and headed the Microsoft Research and the Trustworthy Computing Group. He has also served as senior vice president of the Server and Tools unit.

Taking Rudder's place will be Harry Shum, who will gain the title of Executive Vice President, Technology & Research. Shum was previously the leader of Microsoft Research China, and is currently the leader of the Bing engineering team.

After Shum's transition, the Bing team will report temporarily to Qi Lu, executive vice president of Microsoft's Applications and Services Engineering Group.

Rudder and Shum will step into their new roles in mid-December. Both will report to Ballmer.

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Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for, and