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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

January 10, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Microsoft’s Raikes heading for the exit

This just in: Microsoft is announcing today that Jeff Raikes, one of its longest-serving executives and the head of the Microsoft Business Division, “will retire from the company following a nine-month transition to ensure a smooth transfer of his daily responsibilities and management of the division.”

More to come. Here’s the press release.

Quick summary:

— Microsoft has named as Raikes’ replacement Stephen Elop, 44, whose background includes leadership positions at Adobe, Macromedia and most recently, Juniper Networks, where he was chief operating officer.

— Raikes will exit in September, three months after Bill Gates is due to transition to working full time at his foundation. Until then, Raikes, who has spent more than half his life working for Microsoft, will “continue to serve as a member of the company’s senior leadership team responsible for developing and guiding Microsoft’s core business strategy.”

— Elop, a native of Canada, will begin working at Microsoft at the end of this month and take over Raikes leadership of the Information Worker, Microsoft Business Solutions and Unified Communications groups. He will report directly to CEO Steve Ballmer.

— Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business is splitting off from the Business Division and Bob Muglia, the senior vice president in charge of server and tools, will report directly to Ballmer.

Update, 3 p.m.: We just received an internal email from Ballmer on the changes and the significance of Raikes 26-year tenure at Microsoft. Excerpts after the jump.

Update, 4:45 p.m.: For more background on Raikes, check out this definitive 1998 profile of the “affable Nebraskan,” written by former Seattle Times reporter Jay Greene, who now writes for Business Week.

From Ballmer’s email:

“For more than 26 years, Jeff [Raikes] has been both a great businesses partner and a close friend. My relationship with Jeff extends all the way back to 1981 when I recruited him to come to Microsoft from Apple. He will be greatly missed when he leaves the company in September. …”

“Very few people have contributed more to Microsoft than Jeff. For more than 20 years, he has been the chief strategist behind the establishment of our information worker business, from our earliest productivity applications to the creation of Office to our ongoing success at redefining and expanding the Information Worker (IW) market as we’ve moved into new businesses including collaboration, businesses intelligence, unified communications, and much more. Jeff was also pivotal in creating what is now our Worldwide Sales, Marketing and Services Group and in providing the foundation that has made our sales organization so successful. His passion for demonstrating the value and magic of software to customers, partners, and employees is unparalleled.

“Equally important, Jeff has played a central role in recruiting and nurturing great people at Microsoft. Jeff was one of the earliest and most vocal proponents of the importance of diversity at the company and has worked tirelessly to develop talent at Microsoft. I know Jeff has been a great mentor for many people across the company.

“As much as we all will miss Jeff, he begins this transition period at a time when the company is in great shape. MBD has incredible momentum and the division’s leadership has never been stronger.

“I am also extremely pleased that Stephen will join the company later this month as president of MBD. He is one of the most talented and experienced executives in this industry. With his record of success at Juniper, Adobe, Macromedia, and other leading companies, I believe he is uniquely qualified to step in for Jeff.”

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