Microsoft announced in an internal email this Monday that Panos Panay, the director of Windows and Surface, is leaving the company after almost 20 years. The historic executive has been a key person within the Redmond giantalthough its corporate role has been more prominent in recent years, under the leadership of Satya Nadella.
Yusuf Mehdi, who until now served as Microsoft’s marketing manager, has been appointed as Panay’s successor. The changes in the organizational structure of the multinational have immediate effect, so a transition process has been launched with the teams affected by the movement.
Panay, a key player leaving Microsoft
“After almost 20 years with the company, Panos Panay has decided to leave Microsoft. Panos has had an incredible impact on our products and cultureas well as the broader device ecosystem,” said Rajesh Jha, Microsoft’s device and experience leader, in a statement seen by The Verge.
Panay has developed a large part of his professional career within Microsoft. In his first years after graduating he held the position of head of electromechanical devices at NMB Technologies from 2000 to 2004. That same year he began working in the Redmond firm’s software team.
After a decade in leadership positions, Panay assumed one of the most important roles of his life in 2018: he was named product managera place from which he led the development of Windows 11, an operating system that had the mission of renewing itself and proving to be an attractive alternative to Windows 10.
The challenges for the executive did not stop coming. In 2021, the same year the latest version of Windows was released, Panay was promoted to senior leadership at Microsoft. From that position he not only led Windows and Surface, but also directly advised Satya Nadella.
In the midst of the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), and with the company positioning itself as a player important in this industryPanay has decided “turn the page and write the next chapter“. It is curious that the news has been released surprisingly and shortly before an event scheduled for September 21 about Surface and AI.
As for whether this major move will affect Microsoft’s strategy in any way, we know that Jha has said that the company’s commitment to Surface and its mixed reality products “remains unchanged.” As for Panay’s next career move, we don’t have official details yet.
However, sources consulted by Bloomberg indicate that the now former Microsoft executive will become part of Amazon. The e-commerce giant would have hired Panay to lead the division responsible for Alexa and the Echo smart speakers whose current boss would retire at the end of the year. We have to wait to find out if this is really the case.