Dean Hachamovitch is leaving Microsoft. And yes, of course, there is an IE shirt associated with this milestone, too.
The longtime Internet Explorer leader, who led the efforts to modernize and revitalize Microsoft’s web browser, is making his departure after 24 years with the company.
Hachamovitch, most recently Microsoft’s chief data scientist, isn’t taking another full-time executive position in the short term, but he will be working as an adviser to LifeQ, a company that uses data to create digital simulations of human physiology.
“I’m overdue for a change. The company really has changed a lot,” Hachamovitch said in an interview with GeekWire this morning. “It’s a good time to get a different point of view on tech and life.”
A former corporate vice president at the company, Hachamovitch is the latest in a series of respected Windows leaders to exit the company, as part of a broader regime change under operating systems chief Terry Myerson, who previously led the Windows Phone group and is leading a revamp of the operating system with the upcoming Windows 10 release.
Earlier departures included Jon DeVaan, the longtime Windows engineering leader; Tami Reller, who was the Windows marketing and finance chief before taking a larger marketing position inside the company; and Antoine Leblond, a Microsoft exec known for his leadership roles on the Office and Windows teams.
For years, Internet Explorer suffered from a lack of active development, serving as the bane of web developers and a high-profile target for attacks. “I want to be clear: We messed up,” Hachamovitch said at a Microsoft conference in 2006, in a refreshing moment of candor from a Microsoft executive. “We messed up. As committed as we are to the browser, we just didn’t do a good job demonstrating it.”
Under his leadership, in the following years, IE went through a series of major upgrades to adopt web standards and become a platform for modern web applications.
Hachamovitch took on the new role as chief data scientist a little more than a year ago. Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet reported in July that he was no longer in that companywide position. He originally joined Microsoft out of Harvard to work on Word for Mac.
“In college I loved my Mac and had strong feelings about Microsoft Word. Making Word better sounded cool. I got a job offer from the company and thought, ‘I’ll try this for a year.’,” he writes today in a blog post announcing his decision to leave. “The opportunity to work with strong people across the industry and to contribute to technology and products that matter has lasted much longer than that.”
Microsoft isn’t issuing a statement on his departure, but people we spoke with inside the company say Hachamovitch is leaving on good terms.
During his time leading the IE team, Hachamovitch was known for appearing on stage in shirts created by his team, featuring the Internet Explorer logo as part of a word referencing whichever IE release he was unveiling at the time. His executive assistant, Kelli Marks, continued the tradition for his departure from the company, giving him the “bye” shirt above as a gift.