Surface creator Panos Panay is leaving Microsoft after nearly two decades

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Windows’ chief product officer Panos Panay left Microsoft after nearly two decades in the company. The shocking decision was announced by the business executive on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“After 19 incredible years at Microsoft, I’ve decided to turn the page and write the next chapter. I’m forever grateful for my time at Microsoft and the amazing people I had the honor to make products with,” says Panay, who first joined Microsoft back in 2004.

Panay was responsible for overseeing the development of some of Microsoft’s most popular products, including the Surface line, Windows 11, and the Xbox.

“Thank you, Panos, for your impact on our products, culture, company, and industry over the past two decades. I’m grateful for your leadership, support, and all you’ve done for Microsoft and our customers and partners,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a statement.

Following Panos’ departure, Pavan Davuluri will lead the Windows and Devices team and will be responsible for developing Microsoft’s hardware, including silicon, systems, and devices. Mikhail Parakhin will take on the Windows and Web Experiences team, while Yusuf Mehdi will lead the Windows and Surface businesses with Microsoft’s retail partners. 

Rajesh Jha, Microsoft’s vice president of experience and devices, sent the following email to employees announcing his resignation.

Team,

After nearly 20 years at the company, Panos Panay has decided to leave Microsoft. Panos has had an incredible impact on our products and culture as well as the broader devices ecosystem. Under Panos’ leadership, the team created the iconic Surface brand with loved products. More recently, as the leader of Windows, the team has brought amazing services and experiences to hundreds of millions with Windows 11 on innovative devices including those from our OEM partners. He will be missed, and I am personally very grateful for his many contributions over the years. Please join me in wishing him well.

Moving forward, we will double down on our strategy. These changes will be effective immediately with Panos’ help in the transition.

  • Build silicon, systems and devices that span Windows, client and cloud for an AI world. This team will be led by Pavan Davuluri, who will report directly to me. Brett Ostrum, Nino Storniolo, Linda Averett, Ken Pan, Ralf Groene, Aidan Marcuss, Carlos Picoto, Stevie Bathiche, Robin Seiler, Ruben Caballero and Anuj Gosalia will move to report to Pavan with their teams intact. Windows planning and release management will continue to be in this team. Our commitment to Surface and MR remains unchanged.
  • Build experiences that blend web, services and Windows for an AI world. To this end, Shilpa Ranganathan, Jeff Johnson and Ali Akgun will directly report to Mikhail Parakhin and form a new Windows and Web Experiences Team, moving with their teams intact.
  • Yusuf Mehdi will take on the responsibility of leading the Windows and Surface businesses with our OEM and Retail partners.

In addition, Charles Simonyi, Terri Chudzik and Erin Kolb will join the E+D management teams and Ralf Groene and Mike Davidson will work together on the best alignment on design teams.

We will set up time for an AMA in the coming days to answer questions. Let’s continue to stay focused on executing on our existing plans. Thank you for all that you do, and the impact that you have for our customers and partners.

Best,

Rajesh