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Reports: Two key merger and acquisitions leaders leave Microsoft

It's only Tuesday but there have been back-to-back reports this week that two key mergers and acqusitions leaders at Microsoft have flown the coop.
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Written by Mary Jo Foley, Contributor on

It's only Tuesday but there have been back-to-back reports this week that two key mergers and acqusitions leaders at Microsoft have flown the coop.

On January 3, TechCrunch reported that Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Acquisitions Fritz Lanman was leaving the company to run a startup. On January 4, AllThingsD reported that General Manager of Corporate Strategy Charles Songhurst also was leaving the company.

(Microsoft officials -- for now -- are not confirming either departure. I asked.)

Both Lanman and Songhurst played roles in Microsoft's aborted attempt to buy Yahoo and the subsequent partnership between the two companies. Both seemingly had direct channels to CEO Steve Ballmer.

Lanman's LinkedIn profile notes that he "like(s) to start, build and invest in great companies and non-profits." So TechCrunch's report seems plausible.

And according to one Wall Streeter with whom I spoke, Songhurst's departure has been rumored for a while. "He likes to manage money," said my contact, who added he wouldn't be surprised to see him surface at an investment bank.

The reported departures of the pair come on the heels of a year when Microsoft made very few acquisitions.

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