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October 25, 2005

High level departures at Microsoft

Posted by David Hunter at 9:04 PM ET.

Via Mini-Microsoft comes word that Hadi Partovi and Don Gagne are moving on. Per Brier Dudley at the Seattle Times:

The highly regarded manager of Microsoft’s MSN.com portal and content group, Hadi Partovi, resigned last week, a month after a large reorganization folded MSN into the larger Windows group.

Additional changes are possible as the merger of MSN and Windows is sorted out.

Partovi, 32, said he’s not leaving because of any turmoil at MSN. He said he’s leaving to start his own company, probably an Internet venture.

“It’s really more ‘I want to do my own thing,’ ” Partovi said.

The resignation was announced at a staff meeting last week. Partovi is remaining at the company for several more weeks to finish projects he’s excited about, including a revamped version of the MSN.com home page and updates to the Start.com portal developed by his group.

Alorie Gilbert at CNET reports on Don Gagne:

Don Gagne, director of development for Microsoft Office, plans to leave the company in December to pursue a car racing hobby. The 11-year Microsoft veteran gave his notice last week, company spokesman Lou Gellos said Tuesday, confirming a report about Gagne’s resignation in a blog.

Gellos said Gagne’s departure, which comes a month after Microsoft announced a major reorganization, is amicable. The company has yet to find a replacement for him but expects a smooth leadership transition, Gellos added.

There’s also more on Partovi by following the link.

While I’m on the subject of Microsoft employee retention, not all of Microsoft’s departing employees are techies as Emma Trincal reports at TheStreet.com – Microsoft Alumni Plan New Hedge Fund:

It’s a familiar story on Wall Street. Talented money managers split off from a blue-chip trading shop, hoping to achieve fame and fortune as managers of their own hedge fund.

In the case of Tahoma Capital, the story has a twist. The team, led by Jeffrey Scott, never worked for Goldman Sachs or Julian Robertson. Scott’s crew cut its teeth investing tens of billions of dollars for a different corporate icon: Microsoft.

Scott, Tahoma’s founder, was assistant treasurer at Microsoft for 10 years, leading the software company’s portfolio team for the past five. Besides him, Tahoma’s ranks include one former managing director in the Microsoft portfolio unit and four other senior directors and directors, according to market materials obtained by TheStreet.com.

Corporate treasury departments are not fertile breeding grounds for hedge fund talent. Usually, they employ conservative strategies to invest a company’s excess capital, with their main goal being preservation of money that may eventually be needed to fund operations.

At Microsoft, whose high-margin software products have thrown off enormous sums of cash for years, the situation is different. Tahoma says that over five years at the company, its team oversaw an average of $56 billion in assets that produced as much as one-fifth of Microsoft’s earnings.

Tahoma’s literature claims that between July 2000 and July 2005, Scott’s team produced an average annual return of 7.07% at Microsoft, making it the third-largest profit generator at the company. A Microsoft representative didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking confirmation of the performance.

More by following the link.



Filed under Employee Retention, Financial, General Business, MSN, Office, Start.com

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