Exclusive: Microsoft vet Capossela leaving job, staying at company

Chris Capossela

We’ve picked up on a notable executive move inside the Microsoft Office Division this morning: Chris Capossela, the veteran senior vice president inside the division, is leaving his job as the head of marketing for Office and related products, shifting to a new Microsoft role that has yet to be announced.

Capossela was considered by many outsiders to be a candidate for the presidency of the division after the departure of Stephen Elop for Nokia last year. The role went instead to another Microsoft veteran, Kurt DelBene, who announced the executive changes in an email this morning.

Usually a transition to an unannounced position is code for “biding his time while looking for a job at Facebook,” but in this case, company insiders are giving assurances that the 20-year Microsoft veteran will remain at the company. Capossela is an enthusiastic Microsoft backer, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were the exception. The change was made now because the division is planning for its upcoming fiscal year and wanted to cement its leadership for that process.

Capossela’s role in the Office Division will be taken by another executive, corporate vice president Kirk Koenigsbauer.

Here’s the message from DelBene to the troops this morning …

From: Kurt DelBene
Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2011 8:00 AM
Subject: IW PMG Leadership News

The IW PMG has a reputation at Microsoft as a world class marketing organization, with an incredible legacy of leadership. Today I am announcing the evolution of that leadership as I share with you that Chris Capossela will leave his post as PMG leader, and Kirk Koenigsbauer has been promoted to lead the PMG. This transition is effective Thursday, March 10th.

The PMG organization is responsible for many critical aspects of our business, including designing our go-to market and monetization strategies, developing our product value propositions, and playing a critical “hub” role, connecting engineering and our field teams, customers and partners. Kirk has a wealth of experience that will help him lead the PMG.  He most recently led the Office Business Productivity team, which encompasses the SharePoint, Exchange, Lync and Project business units, as well as our BPIO/Future of Productivity campaign for EPG. In addition, Kirk had a leadership role in the original design of the ECAL Suite and more recently, the acquisition of FAST, Microsoft’s third largest acquisition. He also brings some great consumer experience, having spent 5 years in MSN and 3 years at Amazon. With his proven track record as a trusted partner with the MOD engineering team and key SMSG leaders, I couldn’t be happier that Kirk has accepted this role, and I look forward to working with him and his leadership team.

Our division is experiencing great strength and momentum, and I credit much of this to Chris’s business stewardship and passion. Chris is staying with the company, and his next leadership role here at Microsoft will be forthcoming. I’ve worked with Chris since he was the GM of the Project product group.  I remember the boundless enthusiasm and thoughtfulness that he had for the Project business, traits that defined who he is as the leader of the PMG.  We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have his contributions over these many years, and I know that he’ll remain committed to MOD in his next role as well.  Thank you Chris!

While I know this is a change for everyone in the PMG, I’d ask you stay focused on our priorities and continued alignment. We are on the cusp of an exciting new chapter for the company and have a ton to do, including the successful beta and launch of Office 365, our W15 release, FY12 planning and the continued support for our W14 software and server businesses.

Thanks,

Kurt

Random biographical trivia about Capossela: His interest in computers dates back to coding the reservation system for his family’s Italian restaurant in Boston, for DOS on an early IBM PC.