Microsoft appoints a Chief Technology Officer for Server & Tools

Microsoft appoints a Chief Technology Officer for Server & Tools

Summary: Here's my latest attempt to read the tea leaves about some recent Microsoft organizational moves.


Microsoft's corporate structure is a morphing maze, as those of us who attempt to track it know all too well.


The latest zig-zag worth a mention is the company's appointment of a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for its Server & Tools business. Dave Campbell, a Microsoft Technical Fellow (whom I profiled a while back here), apparently now has that title, according to contacts of mine who asked not to be named. Campbell is believed to be reporting directly to Server & Tools President Satya Nadella in his new role.

Just about all -- if not all -- of Microsoft's five business units are currently organized along "functional" lines, meaning there is a Corporate Vice President (CVP) of Development, Program Management and Test reporting to a central unit chief for key product lines, such as Windows, Windows Azure, SQL Server, etc. Until recently, Campbell was the CVP of development for SQL Server.


Likely replacing Campbell in his SQL-focused dev role is a former SAP Executive Vice President T.K. Rengarajan, who is now a Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, as his LinkedIn profile notes. Rengarajan's most recent title at SAP was EVP of Intellectual Renewal. But, like Campbell, Rengarajan's roots go back to Digital Equipment Corp. and its Rdb database team. 

I asked Microsoft officials for more about the Campbell and Rengarajan moves and didn't hear back.

There are a few reasons the Campbell CTO appointment is noteworthy.

First, the other Microsoft business units don't currently have CTOs, as far as I know. There is an uber-CTO (Chief Technical Officer, in this case): Eric Rudder. Rudder is in charge of Microsoft Research, Trustworthy Computing and the company's Technology Policy Group as of December 2012. The Entertainment & Devices division used to have a CTO, J Allard, but I don't believe anyone has had that title since Allard left Microsoft in 2010.

Secondly, Campbell's new job may be yet another piece of evidence that Microsoft -- in the midst of reimagining itself as a devices and services company -- may be set to launch an organizational makeover.

Right now, two of Microsoft's five business groups are missing their chief financial officers, and there's no word on plans to fill their roles.

Amy Hood was tapped to become Microsoft's corporate CFO, with no replacement named as the new CFO of Microsoft's Business Division. Meanwhile, Mindy Mount, the CFO of Microsoft's Online Services Division, recently joined Jawbone as President. Microsoft officials have not responded to requests about plans to replace Mount. Since 2003, Microsoft has made a CFO for each of its business units part of its management hierarchy.

Microsoft's current fiscal year ends on June 30. I'm wondering if the company is set to split along the devices and services fault lines some time right around that... If so, it will be interesting to see if Microsoft continues to rely on its functional management structure if and when this long-rumored sweeping reorg happens.

Topics: Windows Server, Big Data, Cloud, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • MS dysfunctional org structure

    Seems to me Microsoft's org structure is completely business unit focused and seems a bit dysfunctional and keeps products more siloed rather than different groups working together. That's why I like what Tim Cook did with Apple, having the org structure based of functions (hardware, software, design, services) rather than product lines. Everyone has to work together and the only one responsible for a P&L is the CFO. Less chance for turf wars or building fiefdoms (e.g. Sinofsky & Forstall).
    • Apple isn't as diverse as Microsoft.

      That's the biggest difference between the two.

      Most of Apple's R&D is centered around pumping out Macs and iOS devices.

      Microsoft however, has diversity. Their products range from Windows and Office all the way to the XBox and the Surface lines.

      It's difficult to build "synergy" with your groups when many of them are doing completely different things.
      • Silos aren't great either

        Sure Microsoft might be more diversified but at the end of the day it's similar to Apple - software, services, devices, etc. Why not have one c-level executive overseeing software with SVPs or VPs underneath for Windows, Office, Server, etc.? And then someone else to run hardware - whether Xbox, Surface or Windows phone. With all these different silos owning their own P&L's how do you get good collaboration?
    • And, Microsoft's customers are even more diverse

      The customers of the servers and tools business are very different from orgs focused on delivering devices, software or services to consumers. They are even somewhat different from enterprise/corporate customers who buy Windows client (+ Office) systems.
  • Classic title inflation

    It's not enough to have one "Chief Technology Officer"; there has to be one for every aspect of IT. Next step will be to appoint a "Chief Technology Officer in Chief" (how about "Executive Chief Technology Officer").

    Or MS could abolish the title completely. "Deputy Director of Technology for Server & Tools" is probably more appropriate. Much the same case could be made for abolishing the whole C*O nomenclature and going back to traditional titles.
    John L. Ries
    • Classic title inflation

      Why not "Chief Technology Officer Reimaged" or "Chief Technology Officer Reinvented" :-)
  • And becoming even more so

    With the evolution of Xbox, synchronicity and integration will make and test organizational groupings. A corporation as diverse and curious as MSFT will need max flex to remain vital, current and evolutionary.