Panos Panay, the chief product officer at Microsoft, leading Windows development and the company’s Surface line, is leaving Microsoft. In an email on Monday, Rajesh Jha, Microsoft’s vice president of experience and devices, told employees: “After nearly 20 years at the company, Panos Panay has decided to leave Microsoft.”
Panay’s departure from Microsoft is somewhat abrupt. Just last month, Panay mentioned he was excited to appear at Microsoft’s special event that’s set to take place on Thursday, September 21st, where the company is poised to reveal the latest additions to its Surface lineup and “AI innovation.” However, Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw tells The Verge Panay will not appear at this week’s event.
Panay first joined Microsoft in 2004 as a group program manager. After overseeing the company’s Surface line and other key products, Panay became the company’s chief product officer in 2018, where he led the development of Windows 11. In 2021, Panay was promoted to executive vice president as part of the top leadership team that directly advises Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Panay says “he’s “decided to turn the page and write the next chapter,” adding that he’s “forever grateful for my time at Microsoft and the amazing people I had the honor to make products with.” Over the years, Panay has become one of the main faces of Microsoft and is known for always being pumped about new products.
Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s consumer marketing head, will “take on the responsibility of leading the Windows and Surface businesses with our OEM and Retail partners.” The organizational shift comes at a busy time for Microsoft, as it doubles down on adding AI features to Windows 11, while the rumored release of Windows 12 is expected to arrive next year.
“Thank you, Panos, for your impact on our products, culture, company, and industry over the past two decades,” Nadella says in a statement. “I’m grateful for your leadership, support, and all you’ve done for Microsoft and our customers and partners. As Rajesh stated, we remain steadfast and convicted in our strategy and Yusuf Mehdi will take lead on our Windows and Surface businesses and products externally.”
You can read the full email to employees below:
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.
Update, September 18th 12:15PM ET: Article updated to correct Yusuf Mehdi’s title.