Can Microsoft's new CFO spin the narrative enterprise?

New CFO Amy Hood has enterprise chops. And that's good because Microsoft needs to focus on the enterprise while it struggles in the post-PC era.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Microsoft named Amy Hood chief financial officer in a move that may spin the software giant's narrative more toward the enterprise, an area where the company has a much better story to tell.

The appointment of Hood ensures a smooth transition from outgoing CFO Peter Klein. The big takeaway with Hood is that she has enterprise chops. To wit:

  • Hood was CFO of Microsoft's business division, which was a $24 billion business.
  • She was also chief of staff for Microsoft's Server and Tools unit.

Big deal? It could be. Part of a CFO's job is to tell the company narrative. Microsoft has good stories throughout the company, but the issue is that pesky post-PC era, Windows 8 woes and the big question about whether the company can become a tablet player. Meanwhile, Microsoft is killing it in its enterprise businesses.

Hood's job is partially to frame Microsoft's Wall Street story around the enterprise story. Evercore analyst Kirk Materne sums it up:

The question, in our view, is whether Ms. Hood can refocus investors on the enterprise business and frame the risk associated with the consumer business so that the narrative moves away from a PC story over the next few years. In our view, most of the secular trends in the PC/tablet market are working against Windows and this will not
change, even as PC comps ease.

Can Microsoft pivot and shift focus to the enterprise? Possibly. But Microsoft likes to beat its head against the wall. So expect Hood to spend a lot of time talking Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

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