Microsoft Online chief jumps to U.S. partner group

Just when Microsoft launched a beta of its cloud-hosted suite of business apps, another of the company's Online services honchos moves into a new role.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor on

Just when Microsoft launched a beta of its cloud-hosted suite of business apps, another of the company's Online services honchos moves into a new role.

Ron Markezich, a 13-year Microsoft veteran who also has served previously as Microsoft's Chief Information Officer, is now the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft's U.S. Enterprise and Partner Group. In this role, Markezich is leading Microsoft's national and field sales, partner, marketing and vertical industry teams that target 1,500 of Microsoft's largest customers.

In his previous job, as Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Online, Markezich was in charge of building Microsoft's cloud business for enterprise and public sector companies with products like Office 365. Another Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Online Services, Dave Thompson, announced recently plans to leave his post this year. (Thompson was in charge of building Microsoft's cloud offerings targeting mid-size and small businesses.)

In January 2011, Markezich said that Lee Nackman, who currently is Corporate Vice President, Directory, Access, and Information Protection, would be taking on some of Thompson's responsibilities. Specifically, Nackman will be spearhading the billing and provisioning parts of the Online Services organization, said Kurt Delbene, the Microsoft Office division president. "The product part (engineering) of Office 365 stays under me," Delbene told me earlier this year.

So whose shoes is Markezich filling in his new partner post? Simon Witts still was listed as the Corporate Vice President of U.S. Enterprise and Partner up until April 18.

I've asked Microsoft for more information on Witts' plans, as well as who will be taking on Markezich's responsibilities. I'll update this post once I hear back.

Update: Witts isn't going anywhere; he is still the head of the worldwide Enterprise and Partner organization, reporting directly to Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, a Microsoft spokesperson said. Markezich will be head of the U.S. Enterprise and Partner organization and is reporting to Robert Youngjohns, President of North American Sales and Marketing. Markezich is replacing Chris Weber, who is now heading the Nokia USA business.

Update (4/22): Microsoft is not going to replace Markezich. Here's the official statement from a spokesperson:

“We currently do not plan to fill Ron’s previous position. His previous role selling, building and running Microsoft Online Services to enterprises around the world, will be handled by multiple execs and teams across the company, including product groups like Office and Server & Tools, and customer segment groups like EPG (Enterprise and Partner Group) and Public Sector. Ron has built the business to the point where we can integrate into the existing teams at Microsoft.”

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