Rick Belluzzo, Microsoft Corp.’s president and chief operating officer (COO) and a key force behind the growth of its .Net, Xbox and MSN efforts, is leaving the company, Microsoft said Wednesday.
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Belluzzo, 48, will step down as president and COO on May 1 and leave the company in September. No specific reason was offered for his departure. The move came as part of a broader reorganization intended to give greater autonomy to the executives in charge of Microsoft’s various product groups, the Redmond, Washington, company said in a statement.
As part of the changes, Microsoft will be divided into seven business units: Windows Client, Knowledge Worker, Server and Tools, Business Solutions, CE/Mobility, MSN and Home and Entertainment. The leaders of each unit will have “comprehensive operational and financial responsibility and greater accountability,” Microsoft said.
Belluzzo, a former chief executive officer (CEO) at Silicon Graphics Inc., joined Microsoft in September 1999 as group vice president of its consumer group. As president and COO he has overseen Microsoft’s worldwide sales and marketing, directed its human resources, finance and licensing operations, and overseen its efforts in the area of computer games and TV platform software.
He’s also credited with nurturing the company’s Xbox game console and .Net efforts and helping to set its MSN online service on a more successful course. No replacement was named right away.
Belluzzo worked with Microsoft’s top brass to reorganize the company in a way intended to improve its internal structure and position it for faster growth. Out of that came the decision to make Microsoft’s various business unit leaders more in control of — and more accountable for — the groups they lead, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in the statement.
“Given where Steve (Ballmer) and I knew we needed to take the business, I decided it was the right time to pursue my goal of leading my own company,” Belluzzo said in the statement.