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Brad Smith Named as Microsoft President

Microsoft today announced that Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of Legal and Corporate Affairs, has been named as company president.

The position title, which has gone vacant since Rick Belluzzo resigned in 2002, will be tasked with overseeing matters focusing on security, privacy, digital inclusion and environmental sustainability, said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a companywide e-mail.

"Brad has long had a broad role at the company and now I'm asking him to lead more new initiatives working closely with his peers on the Senior Leadership Team," wrote Nadella. "I'll look to Brad to play a bigger role in strengthening our external relationships and representing the company publicly."

Today's announcement of title change for Smith is just the latest move in Nadella's reorg initiative, kicked off in June, that aims to consolidate multiple company business units into three groups that will work closer together, while abandoning the separate silos of Microsoft's past. The reorg also saw the exit of key Microsoft execs, including Stephen Elop. Smith will be the only senior leader in the company with the title of president.

Smith joined the company in 1993 and has spent the last 13 years as Microsoft's general counsel. In recent history, Smith has been on the forefront of Microsoft's electronic privacy, speaking out against the U.S. government's PRISM surveillance program and denying Microsoft's involvement in it. He has also currently been leading the legal fight against the Department of Justice's request to hand over private data stored on company servers located in Ireland.

While Smith's new role will have him continue to focus on privacy and intellectual property issues, he will no longer be heading the day-to-day legal responsibilities, Nadella said.  Instead, he will be assisting Nadella in shaping the direction of the company moving forward.

"Brad will work with me and others on the SLT in the coming weeks to help us organize ourselves for success, identifying the right way to have impact on these cross company initiatives," said Nadella.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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