Microsoft's seven heads mean UK shuffle

To fall in line with the US corporate structure, Microsoft UK will hold a reshuffle and appoint a new head for each of its seven business units

Microsoft's UK arm is in the midst of a restructuring that will eventually see it align its operations closely with the seven-unit structure defined in the US last autumn.

The company is known to be looking to recruit seasoned tech executives to fill at least one top divisional job -- with its growing server software business heading the list -- and executives at rivals IBM and Oracle are known to have been sounded out already as candidates.

According to information seen by, the software giant is looking to hand profit and loss responsibility to business group managers who would be charged with working between local sales heads and product groups in the US. The reorganisation has been planned to take effect from 1 July, 2003.

Another source added: "It would make sense to have seven equal heads."

A Microsoft spokesman told "Microsoft in the UK will be happy to communicate externally our shape going forward for FY04 but not everyone is in place yet. It's nothing that will affect customers."

The vendor has hundreds of executives around the world and reshuffles are routine. The most recent major structural change came last autumn when the company for the first time started reporting results for its seven business units: client, information worker, server platforms, business solutions, MSN, CE/mobility and home and entertainment.

These, among other things, respectively look after Windows, Office, Windows Server 2003, mid-range ERP and CRM software from acquisitions Great Plains and Navision, MSN internet operations, the Windows Smartphone OS and Xbox.

Three units -- those responsible for Windows, Office and server software -- are the cash cows that allow investment in the other four units.

However, appointments in the UK are bound to raise questions about the country managing director role. The respected and successful Neil Holloway has been promoted to senior vice president with responsibility for marketing, sales and services across the EMEA region. This leaves the role vacant.

"He will be directly replaced," added the spokesman, meaning any newly created unit heads would most likely have more than one line of reporting.

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