David Treadwell, the veteran Microsoft engineering executive who made his mark on Windows, Xbox and many other key products, is leaving to join Amazon after 27 years at the Redmond company, GeekWire has learned.
“As sometimes happens in life, an opportunity unexpectedly came up to pursue a different but compelling agenda in a different tech problem space than I’ve done at Microsoft,” Treadwell wrote in a message to friends and colleagues. “After much thought about how I want to grow and challenge myself, I decided to go for it.”
In his message, Treadwell didn’t say where he is going or what he’ll be doing, but sources familiar with his move confirmed that he’ll be joining Amazon. It’s a big hire for the e-commerce giant, bolstering its ranks of top engineering executives.
Treadwell’s most recent role at Microsoft, as the corporate vice president leading the company’s identity team, will be assumed by Microsoft executive Joy Chik, a corporate vice president involved in areas including enterprise mobility and security, the company said in response to our inquiry about Treadwell’s departure.
It’s not the first time a veteran Microsoft Windows engineering executive has left for a high-ranking Amazon position. Brian Valentine, another longtime Windows engineering executive, left to become senior vice president of Amazon’s e-commerce platform in 2006 before retiring seven years later.
Reached via email today, Valentine said he wasn’t privy to any details of Treadwell’s move, but said he believes his former colleague will do well at Amazon.
“Amazon is all about the customer and living the company/leadership values,” Valentine said, noting that he has known Treadwell since interviewing him when Treadwell was in college. “In my opinion, David has the DNA to do great in both of those areas.”
Valentine said his own move to Amazon was “a great growth opportunity,” exposing him to a whole new range of products and technologies on a large scale, and giving him a chance to work for a new CEO in Jeff Bezos after previously working for Andy Grove, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. “It will be good for him to see a different company, culture and leadership team,” Valentine said of Treadwell. “I would recommended it to anyone.”
Treadwell first came to Microsoft in 1989, working on Windows NT networking in his early days at the company. He rose up through the company and held a number of key executive positions at Microsoft while working on a wide variety of products.
Last year, following a major top-level reorganization at Microsoft, he moved from the position of corporate vice president in charge of Windows Engineering program management to become corporate vice president of identity in the company’s Cloud & Enterprise team. In an email obtained by ZDNet at the time, Treadwell told staff he was reluctant to leave the Windows team, but “when the CEO calls, well, you take that call.”
We’ve contacted Treadwell for comment on his move to Amazon and will update this post if we hear back.
GeekWire reporter Nat Levy contributed to this report.