Ten-year Microsoft veteran and head of the 15,000-person Digital Transformation Group, James Phillips, will leave the company effective April 15. Microsoft Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie announced Phillips’s departure — for an unspecified “outside opportunity” — via email today, April 4. Phillips’ departure, after an extended sabbatical, is just one of many steps taking place in Microsoft’s Cloud + AI division.
Phillips was appointed in March 2021 to lead the new Digital Transformation Group. That group included Dynamics 365, Power Platform, Azure AI Platform, Azure Data Platform, Azure IoT Platform and the growing family of Microsoft Cloud for Industry solutions. In January of this year, Phillips joined the Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group as a strategic director in addition to his current role as president of the Digital Transformation Platform Group.
Phillips joined Microsoft in 2012 as a strategic advisor to Satya Nadella, who was then president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Division. He joined Microsoft from NoSQL database provider Couchbase, where he was a co-founder and CEO.
I don’t hear that Microsoft plans to replace Philips. I have asked the company for comment. Instead, it appears that Phillips’ immediate subordinates and group are being split up and moved.
Guthrie announced that Charles Lamanna will continue to lead the Business Applications & Platform (BAP) organization and join his C+AI leadership team, reporting directly to Guthrie. Eric Boyd will continue to lead the AI platform organization and join the C+AI leadership team, reporting directly to Guthrie. Rohan Kumar will continue to lead the Azure Data organization, join the C+AI leadership team and report directly to Guthrie.
Guthrie also today revealed more details about how Microsoft plans to integrate AI vendor Nuance Communications into its division. Last month, Microsoft completed its acquisition of Nuance for $19.7 billion. At the time, Microsoft said that Nuance CEO Mark Benjamin would report directly to Guthrie.
Microsoft is moving the Microsoft Health & Life Sciences engineering team to the Nuance R&D organization under Benjamin to consolidate its first-party healthcare products within Microsoft and Nuance. Nuance Enterprise business and product management will move to Lamanna’s Business Applications and Platform organization, aligning with some of the joint contact center work the two organizations have already announced.
(Interestingly, Microsoft is doing more of the traditional integration with Nuance, as opposed to LinkedIn and GitHub. Microsoft has chosen to run the latter two companies more as standalone units, rather than their people and teams in the existing Microsoft -organization.)
Guthrie also announced the consolidation of the IoT and Edge engineering teams “to ensure we have deeper synergies in IoT and the work we do in Azure Arc, Azure Stack and Azure Edge Zones,” as part of the reorganization of Today.
All changes announced today are effective immediately.