Panos Panay leaves Microsoft to lead Amazon’s Alexa and Echo division

Sep 19, 2023, 12:12 PM UTC
3 mins read
Panos Panay leaves Microsoft to lead Amazon's Alexa and Echo division
Image: AFP via Getty Images

Panos Panay, a long-standing executive vice president and chief product officer at Microsoft, has decided to call it a day after nearly two decades with the tech giant. News of Panay’s departure was conveyed through an internal email sent by Rajesh Jha, an executive vice president at Microsoft, leaving the tech world both stunned and intrigued. Panay’s exit signifies the end of an era at Microsoft, as he’s played an instrumental role in shaping the company’s product landscape.

Panos Panay’s journey at Microsoft is nothing short of remarkable. He was a driving force behind the conception and growth of Microsoft’s Surface tablet line, fundamentally changing the way we interact with technology. In 2018, he took on the pivotal role of chief product officer, entrusted with overseeing the Windows business. Under his leadership, Microsoft’s product portfolio underwent a profound transformation, propelling the company to new heights.

Following Panay’s resignation, Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, expressed profound gratitude for his monumental contributions. “Panos has left an indelible mark on our products, our culture, our company, and our industry over the past two decades,” said Nadella. Panay’s vision and relentless pursuit of innovation have left a lasting legacy that will continue to shape Microsoft’s path for years to come.

With Panay’s departure from Microsoft, attention swiftly turned to his next endeavor. Bloomberg reported that Panos Panay is set to embark on a new adventure at Amazon, where he will oversee the Alexa and Echo smart speakers division. This transition from Microsoft to Amazon underscores Panay’s versatility and adaptability in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

The timing of Panay’s exit adds an extra layer of intrigue. It comes just three days before Microsoft’s highly anticipated demo event for new hardware and software. Panay had been scheduled to take the stage and introduce a range of AI-powered products at the event, as he had hinted in a post a month earlier. His absence at the event will undoubtedly be felt, leaving many to wonder about the fate of the products he had planned to unveil.

In the aftermath of Panay’s resignation, Microsoft is undertaking a strategic reorganization to ensure a smooth transition and the continued success of its operations. According to Jha’s internal email, the responsibilities formerly overseen by Panay will be divided among three key executives:

  • Pavan Davuluri, corporate vice president, will now head silicon and hardware development, ensuring Microsoft’s hardware innovations continue to thrive.
  • Mikhail Parakhin, who also oversees search, web browsing, and ads, will take charge of the Windows product teams, heralding a new era for the Windows ecosystem.
  • Yusuf Mehdi, chief marketing officer, will assume responsibility for Microsoft’s partners that resell Windows and Surface products, strengthening the company’s partnerships and market presence.

As Microsoft navigates this period of change, its unwavering commitment to innovation and excellence remains steadfast.

Panos Panay’s departure from Microsoft and his new role at Amazon represents a significant moment in the tech industry. Panay’s contributions to Microsoft’s success are immeasurable, and his next chapter at Amazon promises to bring fresh insights and innovations to the world of smart speakers and AI technology. Meanwhile, Microsoft is gearing up for a new era under the leadership of its reorganized executive team, promising continued growth and groundbreaking products for years to come.

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