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LinkedIn and Former Google Exec Kevin Scott Tapped as Microsoft's CTO

In a sign that Microsoft wants to utilize the technical chops of talent it has brought in with last month's acquisition of LinkedIn, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has named Kevin Scott to the newly created position of chief technology officer (CTO). Scott, who was the senior vice president of engineering at LinkedIn, joins Nadella's senior leadership team. He will be in charge of driving company initiatives. It's a dual promotion for Scott, who will continue at LinkedIn in a stepped-up role as senior VP of infrastructure.

The surprising move comes about seven weeks after Microsoft closed its $26.2 billion deal to acquire LinkedIn, by far the company's largest acquisition. By his choice, Nadella is signaling confidence that Scott can presumably play a major role in bringing together both the Microsoft and LinkedIn graphs that are key in creating new forms search, machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities.

When initially announcing the acquisition deal, Nadella indicated the potential LinkedIn brought to Microsoft to help combine users' professional social networks with the tools provided in the workplace. "You look at Microsoft's footprint across over a billion customers and the opportunity to seamlessly integrate our network within the Microsoft Cloud to create a social fabric, if you will, that can be seamlessly integrated into areas like Outlook, Calendar, Office, Windows, Skype, Dynamics [and] Active Directory. For us, that was an incredibly exciting opportunity," Nadella said at the time. (See Redmond magazine's August 2016 cover story analyzing the implications of the deal.)

Given Scott's deep engineering and management background at LinkedIn (and before that at Google and AdMob), it appears Nadella believes Scott will lead that effort. "We are thrilled that Kevin will bring to Microsoft his unique expertise developing platforms and services that empower people and organizations," Nadella stated in today's announcement. "Kevin's first area of focus is to bring together the world's leading professional network and professional cloud."

The brief announcement emphasized that Scott will remain active at LinkedIn and on its executive team. "I am very optimistic about where Microsoft is headed and how we can continue to use technology to solve some of society's most important challenges," Scott stated.

Scott has a 20-year career in the field of academics as well as a researcher, engineer and leader, according to Microsoft. In addition to LinkedIn, Scott has held engineering and management roles at Google and AdMob, and has advised a number of startups. Microsoft said Scott is also an active angel investor who has founded Behind the Tech, an early stage nonprofit organization focused on giving visibility to lesser-known engineers responsible for, and involved in, advances in technology.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 01/24/2017 at 12:37 PM


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