Pell

It is that time of year when Microsofties tend to look for new opportunities. And perhaps the most notable departure this week comes from former Powerset CEO Barney Pell — a former development manager for Bing — who Tweeted that he was returning to become a “full-time angel investor and parallel entrepreneur.

Pell’s departure comes almost exactly three years after Microsoft acquired San Francisco-based Powerset for a rumored price of as much as $100 million.

It is unclear whether Pell will pursue his entrepreneurial and angel activities in the Seattle area. But he does have connections here, serving on the board of lunar exploration company Moon Express with entrepreneur Naveen Jain.

Meanwhile, ReadWriteWeb reports that ZuneHD business development lead Dave McLauchlan and Windows 7 gaming project manager Ruchit Garg also announced that they are leaving the company. “People come and people go from companies all the time, but for three well-known names from Microsoft to depart in one day has got to be dispiriting,” writes Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb. “Hopefully, when smart people leave giant companies, it means they will create something new and fabulous elsewhere.”

The Register also notes that there’s been a “growing managerial exodus from Microsoft,” while technology reporter Mary Jo Foley calls it the Microsoft “revolving door.”

At a recent panel discussion, Seattle entrepreneur Dave Schappell predicted that there would be a brain drain at Microsoft in September.

“September 15th is coming. That’s the big exodus from Microsoft every year. Bonuses are set. Cash is coming,” said Schappell, who runs Seattle-based TeachStreet. “And startups and Facebook, Google, Amazon — we are all ready to recruit out of that resigning class. And that’s why (the Silicon Valley companies) are here.”

Comments

  • http://readwriteweb.com Marshall Kirkpatrick

    Thx for the link – nice added context with the Schappell quote!

    • johnhcook

      Thanks Marshall.

  • Dave

    There should be no surprise when a CEO of a company Microsoft acquired, such as Powerset, leaves. Keeping him for 3 years seems like a success for Microsoft.  Few startup or small company CEOs want to be at a company as large and as bureacratic as Microsoft for any period of time.

  • Guest

    Given MS’s performance in many important initiatives over the last decade, why is a change of management a bad thing?

  • Guest

    Why are executive departures at MS worthy of daily reporting, but mostly a non event when it comes to say Google?

  • Guest

    Why are executive departures at MS worthy of daily reporting, but mostly a non event when it comes to say Google?

    • Guest

      Because Geekwire is a Seattle news site and Microsoft is a Seattle-area company. Google doesn’t station any critical executives in Kirkland, Fremont, or Bothell.

      • Guest

        Except that Geekwire routinely reports about Google. So that really undercuts your argument. I repeat, why are MS departures newsworthy and an “exodus” but Google ones not?

        • johnhcook

          That’s right we do report on Google from time to time, especially those stories with a Seattle angle or hook. Google now has close to 1,000 employees in the state, and we’ll be spending more time covering what they are up to. 

          If a senior person at Google (Fremont, Bothell or Kirkland) departed, we certainly would cover that. Thanks again for the comment. 

          Also, just a reminder that we have a Tech Moves column where we report on the folks coming and going in the tech community.

  • Guest

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Powerset guy had a contractual obligation to stay three years and that just ran out. The Zune guy leaving is fairly understandable.

  • Guest

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Powerset guy had a contractual obligation to stay three years and that just ran out. The Zune guy leaving is fairly understandable.

  • Guest

    Add Linda Zecher today, one of the people Turner was relying on as recently as last week to fill the hole caused by firing Witts. I guess KT forgot to make sure his other people were solidly on board before touting them as replacements. Fail.

    • Paul

      Yeah, two of the most senior people leaving the enterprise and partner group within a week of each other. But Kevin is totally confident about the company’s ability to make its number. Riiiiiiight.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Marshall and John for breaking the news. I will be Seattle area and have plans to work on my own startup. Stay tuned!

    • johnhcook

      Thanks Ruchit. Would love to hear more. Please keep me posted. You can email me at john@geekwire.com.

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