Nat Friedman to step down as head of Microsoft's GitHub

Nat Friedman is moving back to the startup world and Thomas Dohmke will become the new CEO of Microsoft's GitHub division.

Nat Friedman, the CEO of Microsoft's GitHub division is leaving that role and going back to his startup roots. Friedman announced his plans via a post to the GitHub blog on November 3. Thomas Dohmke, who is currently GitHub's Chief Product Officer, will become the new CEO of GitHub as of November 15.

GitHub's mission will not change, Microsoft officials said. It will continue to operate as basically a standalone business and remain platform-neutral and cloud-neutral. Friedman will become "Chairman Emeritus" of GitHub as part of the move.

GitHub currently reports to Microsoft Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie, but soon it will report to Julia Liuson. Liuson is being promoted to President of the Microsoft Developer division as part of today's announced changes, and Dohmke will report to her directly.

Dohmke has been part of GitHub for just over three years. Before that, he was a Director and PM Manager in Microsoft's developer division. He came to Microsoft as part of its HockeyApp acquisition. Microsoft bought HockeyApp, a mobile crash analytics and app distribution company, in 2014.  

These developer-related changes are happening just a week ahead of Microsoft's virtual launch of Visual Studio 2022 and .NET 6.

Microsoft bought GitHub in 2018 for $7.5 billion. Though a number of industry watchers were worried that Microsoft would try to limit the kinds of code that could be hosted in GitHub's repositories, that hasn't been the case. Under Friedman, GitHub has made a lot of advances around its own tools and policies which have been well received by many developers.