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Microsoft Taps Chief LinkedIn Engineer as Its CTO

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has named Kevin Scott, senior vice president of engineering at LinkedIn, to the newly created position of Microsoft chief technology officer (CTO).

Scott's appointment on Tuesday comes about seven weeks after Microsoft closed its $26.2 billion deal to acquire LinkedIn. Scott joins Nadella's senior leadership team, where he's charged with driving companywide initiatives. It's a dual promotion for Scott, who will also continue at LinkedIn in the stepped-up role of senior vice president of infrastructure.

Microsoft's LinkedIn acquisition, which it initiated in June 2016, is by far the company's largest. By appointing Scott, Nadella is signaling confidence that Scott can play a major role in bringing together both the Microsoft and LinkedIn graphs that are key in creating new forms search, machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities.

When he announced Microsoft's intent to acquire LinkedIn last year, Nadella emphasized the social networking site's potential to help Microsoft build an integrated graph, combining users' professional social networks with the tools provided in the workplace.

"If you look at Microsoft's footprint across over a billion customers and the opportunity to seamlessly integrate our network within the Microsoft cloud to create a social fabric, if you will, that can be seamlessly integrated into areas like Outlook, calendar, Office Windows, Skype, Dynamics and Active Directory, for us that is an incredible opportunity," Nadella said at the time.

Given Scott's deep engineering and management background at LinkedIn, and at Google and AdMob before that, it appears Nadella believes Scott will lead that effort.

"We are thrilled that Kevin will bring to Microsoft his unique expertise developing platforms and services that empower people and organizations," Nadella stated in Tuesday's announcement. "Kevin's first area of focus is to bring together the world's leading professional network and professional cloud."

The brief announcement emphasized that Scott will remain active at LinkedIn and on its executive team. "I am very optimistic about where Microsoft is headed and how we can continue to use technology to solve some of society's most important challenges," Scott stated.

Scott has a 20-year career in the field of academics. He has also been a researcher, engineer and leader, according to Microsoft. In addition to LinkedIn, Scott has held engineering and management roles at Google and AdMob, and has advised a number of startups.

Microsoft said Scott is also an active angel investor who founded Behind the Tech, an early-stage nonprofit organization focused on giving visibility to lesser-known engineers responsible for, and involved in, advances in technology.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.