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Tony Scott
Tony Scott

[Updated below with Microsoft confirmation and statement.]

Tony Scott, who oversaw Microsoft’s internal IT operations for more than five years as the company’s CIO, has exited the position, based on the word leaking out of the company this weekend.

Scott’s personal LinkedIn profile now lists him as Microsoft’s “former” CIO, and we’re hearing separately that Microsoft announced the news internally to staff late last week.

Update, 2:50 p.m.: Microsoft has now confirmed the news, releasing this statement: “Tony Scott decided to depart Microsoft to focus on personal projects. While at Microsoft, Tony was a strong IT leader passionate about taking Microsoft’s technology to the next level and using our experiences and learnings to help customers and partners. We thank Tony for his contributions and wish him well.”

Microsoft says Jim Dubois, its vice president of IT product and services management, will serve as interim CIO.

Scott’s exit is notable in part because of the role played by Microsoft’s IT department as the first customer of the company’s business groups — rolling out new products for use and testing across the company, prior to public release, in a process commonly known as “dogfooding.” That’s a critical function in addition to the fundamental role of IT in running, securing and maintaining Microsoft’s internal systems.

The change happens to come on the eve of the company’s TechEd conference for IT pros and enterprise developers. Scott, a veteran of companies including General Motors and Bristol-Meyers Squibb, joined Microsoft in 2008 after serving as Disney’s CIO.

Update, 6:40 p.m.: Scott confirms via email that it was his choice to leave the company, and his last day was Friday. He explains, “My dad passed away at Easter time, so taking a little time to get my mother re-settled, get my instrument rating done (I’m a pilot), and work on a couple of other long delayed personal projects. Will go back to ‘work’ (in some form) in a few months, but right now just focusing on the above.”

Scott’s successor as CIO might have a somewhat different role than in the past, says Rob Helm, research director at the independent Directions on Microsoft research firm. Helm explains, “Customer-facing services like Office 365 play a much bigger role testing new products now, making ‘dogfooding’ less critical than it was.”

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