Microsoft Surface Brand Creator Steps Down, Reportedly Heads To Amazon

Microsoft confirmed that Panos Panay, a 20-year veteran and executive vice president and chief product officer leading Windows and Surface products, will leave the company. Reportedly he's headed for Amazon. 

Panay joined Microsoft in 2004 as a group program manager on PC software. Under his leadership, the Microsoft team created the Surface brand.

And he took an additional leadership role on the operating system Windows project in 2020. He then joined the senior leadership team in 2021.

“After 19 incredible years at Microsoft, I’ve decided to turn the page and write the next chapter,” he wrote on the social-media platform X in an informal announcement. “I’m forever grateful for my time at Microsoft and the amazing people I had the honor to make products with.”



Microsoft CEO and Chairman Satya Nadella thanked Panay in a statement sent to Media Daily News for his work and impact on the company’s products, culture, company, and industry during the past two decades.

“I’m grateful for your leadership, support, and all you’ve done for Microsoft and our customers and partners,” Nadella wrote. “As Rajesh stated, we remain steadfast and convicted in our strategy and Yusuf Mehdi will take lead on our Windows and Surface businesses and products externally.”

Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft corporate vice president of modern life, search, and devices, will take the responsibility of leading Windows and Surface businesses, according to an email from Rajesh Jha, vice president of experience and devices at Microsoft.

Other changes also were announced in that email. Charles Simonyi, who led the development of Microsoft Word and Excel applications, rejoined the company in 2017 as technical fellow through an acquisition, and will join the management team for the Experiences and Devices group, which Jha runs today. 

The changes, including Panos’ departure, take effect today, just three days before Microsoft is expected to announce its next generation of Surface devices at a New York event. 

It's not clear how the departure of Panay and the changes in the divisions will influence search and advertising at Microsoft. Media Daily News reached out to Microsoft for information, and will update the article with additional findings. 

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