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Microsoft’s Panos Panay leaves company after nearly 20 years

Yusuf Mehdi will take over the Windows and Surface divisions.

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Panos Panay is leaving Microsoft after 19 years with the company, as confirmed via an official tweet. He’s been operating as the chief product officer with Microsoft, heading up Windows 11 development and the company’s Surface line. Rajesh Jha, Microsoft’s vice president of experience and devices, broke the news in an email to employees, as reported by The Verge.

Panay was hired on by Microsoft back in 2004 as a group program manager, overseeing a number of premium products. After heading the development of the initial Surface line of tablets and hybrid laptops, he was named the company’s chief product officer in 2018. His rise continued in 2021 when he was promoted to executive vice president after a successful Windows 11 launch, eventually becoming involved in a leadership team that directly advised CEO Satya Nadella.

There’s been no actual reason given by either party, but Panay says he has “decided to turn the page and write the next chapter.” The timing here is a bit suspicious, as Microsoft’s conducting a livestream event on Thursday that will almost certainly be dedicated to new Surface products. We reached out to the company for clarification as to why Panay left his position and what that means moving forward. We’ll update this post when we hear more.

As for what’s next, Microsoft has already said that Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s current corporate vice president of modern life, search and devices, will take Panay’s place as the head of the Windows and Surface divisions. The company also still seems committed to two areas of the business that Panay consistently championed: integrating AI into Windows 11 and mixed-reality. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement released to TechCrunch that the company remains “steadfast and convicted in our strategy.” We’ll have to see how this unfolds Thursday during Microsoft’s Surface-centric event.