Terry Myerson, the longtime Microsoft executive who most recently led the Windows and Devices Group, is joining Madrona Venture Group as a venture partner and The Carlyle Group as an operating executive — taking on dual roles that promise a unique vantage point on a wide variety of tech businesses and investments.
The news this morning follows the announcement of Myerson’s departure from Microsoft in March, after 21 years, coinciding with a large engineering reorganization announced by CEO Satya Nadella. He joined Microsoft through its 1997 acquisition of Intersé, leading teams including Microsoft Exchange and Windows Mobile before ultimately overseeing the Windows 10 launch and the company’s larger push into computer hardware and devices in his latest role.
Before officially leaving Microsoft last month, Myerson reconnected with a wide range of friends and mentors including former Microsoft CEOs Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, and explored potential leadership roles at other companies.
(He also trained for and successfully completed the Honu Half Ironman, an accomplishment that surprised even himself; joined the Board of Visitors at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, where he’s an alum; and began learning to play piano, which he was more excited about than his kids were, as he notes in a LinkedIn post this morning.)
But after more than two decades working for one company, Myerson says he is looking forward to working with a wide variety of them through his new roles. Seattle-based Madrona focuses largely on venture capital investments in Pacific Northwest startups, whereas Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle Group makes larger investments in later-stage companies.
“There may be a time in the future where I go back and take on a leadership role again, but right now being part of two teams that are working with lots of different technologies and companies is very exciting to me,” Myerson said in an interview with GeekWire this week.
Explaining how he’ll juggle the new roles at Madrona and Carlyle, Myerson writes on LinkedIn that both organizations “were able to design part-time roles for me so that I can contribute to each, while also continuing to give back to the community and be present with my family.”
He explains, “Whereas my role at Madrona challenges me to consider how to leverage the latest technical innovations, my role at Carlyle will challenge me to deliver software at scale in many diverse organizations.”
Myerson, who is also a Seattle Foundation board member, said he was attracted to the Madrona role for reasons including its focus on the Pacific Northwest.
“Madrona’s core idea is that if you are going to really partner with a company from day one, especially during the very earliest phases of a company’s growth, that is best done locally so you can support the new team,” he writes. “This resonated with me as true – and being the leading Pacific Northwest VC, with the biggest fund to invest here, and the best track record from Amazon, to four IPOs in the past 2 years – this started to sound like a great team to be a part of. I really liked the focus on the Pacific Northwest’s ecosystem of innovation.”
Venture partners advise venture capital firms and help to guide their investments. Past Madrona venture partners have gone on to larger roles as full partners in the firm, or left to run companies in the firm’s portfolio. In his Madrona role, Myerson will be reunited with S. “Soma” Somasegar, the Madrona managing director who previously ran the Microsoft Developer Division and worked with Myerson on a variety of products at the software giant over the years.
“Terry has a broad set of technical and business leadership experiences and has been a successful entrepreneur,” writes Somasegar in a post on Madrona’s site this morning. “His insights both at a technical and a business level combined with his penchant for action is something that will be valuable in working with start-ups and entrepreneurs whether they are at an early stage or have reached a level of scale at a later stage.”