Rick Belluzzo Becomes Microsoft President, COO

A former SGI executive has risen quickly through the Microsoft ranks, a point his ascension to the position of president and chief operating officer (COO) underscores. Today, Microsoft announced that Rick Belluzzo has succeeded former COO Bob Herbold, who is retiring, while also stepping into the role of president. The company says Belluzzo's promotion is the result of proven ability, although he's been with Microsoft for less than 18 months. Meanwhile, many will miss Herbold's calm and steady presence in Redmond, although he'll still represent Microsoft part-time.
  
"Rick is stepping up to an even more crucial role in Microsoft's leadership team," says Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "He has the proven ability to create effective organizations, manage a diverse set of products and businesses, and make the tough decisions that will keep Microsoft moving forward on our priorities. We'll really miss Bob's experience and contributions on a daily basis, but I'm delighted that he will continue to work for me, representing Microsoft across a range of important activities. After 6 1/2 years at Microsoft and 26 years at Procter & Gamble, Bob has decided that now's the time to do some of the other things he's had in mind for some time, including some serious fly fishing." 
  
Belluzzo joined Microsoft in September 1999 after serving as the executive vice president of Hewlett-Packard (HP) and CEO of SGI. Since joining Microsoft, Belluzzo has overseen the development of MSN, WebTV, UltimateTV, and the Xbox. "Microsoft is very well positioned for growth," Belluzzo says. "We've got an incredible year of new product and service launches ahead of us, including Windows XP and Office XP, and we're investing in next-generation technologies such as the .NET platform for customers. I'm excited about working even more closely with my colleagues on the senior leadership team to fine-tune our business processes and drive growth opportunities in our core businesses and in emerging technologies and services."
  
Meanwhile, the future will become more manageable for CEO Steve Ballmer, who is stepping aside from his role as president. "As Rick transitions to his broader set of responsibilities, I'll spend more time focusing on Microsoft's strategic direction and working closely with Bill and the leaders of our product teams--including Jim Allchin, Jeff Raikes, and Bob Muglia--on our platform, productivity, enterprise, and software services efforts," he says.
  
In addition to Belluzzo's promotion, a few other executives at the company were moved around. Debra Willingham was promoted to senior vice president for Human Resources, and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) John Connors assumed responsibility for the company's Information Technology Group (ITG).

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