Microsoft business unit head to depart

Doug Burgum, chairman of the company's business solutions unit, will be succeeded by Satya Nadella, a Microsoft veteran.

Mike Ricciuti
Mike Ricciuti Staff writer, CNET News
Mike Ricciuti joined CNET in 1996. He is now CNET News' Boston-based executive editor and east coast bureau chief, serving as department editor for business technology and software covered by CNET News, Reviews, and Download.com. E-mail Mike.
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Doug Burgum, the executive behind Microsoft's business software unit, will leave the company next year.

Burgum, who "5958553"="">relinquished day-to-day operations of the Microsoft Business Solutions unit in November, will be succeeded by Satya Nadella, a 14-year veteran of the company, Microsoft announced Tuesday.

Doug Burgum
Doug Burgum

Burgum will leave Microsoft at the conclusion of the company's fiscal year in June 2007. In November 2005, Microsoft said he would continue as chairman of the business solutions unit. However, on Tuesday, Burgum said a number of factors, including the difficulties of running the unit from a remote location, contributed to his decision to leave. Burgum is based in Fargo, N.D.

"I have some personal constraints related to geography, and that is something I cannot change. I have always thought this is a job that should be done by someone in Redmond," Burgum said during a conference call.

Nadella had been running research and development in the company's business solutions unit. Previously, he helped develop Microsoft's online commerce software and Biztalk server products.

Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella

Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft's business software division, said the company did both an internal and external search and "went through literally dozens of candidates" before selecting Nadella. The company said Nadella's experience with Web software will loom large as Microsoft develops and launches new online products, such as Office Live and Dynamics CRM Live.

Burgum came to Microsoft through the acquisition of Great Plains Software in 2001. The Microsoft Business Solutions unit consists of a number of different products that company has gotten through its acquisition of Navision, Great Plains Software, Solomon and Axapta. Microsoft recently announced plans to unite the products under the "Dynamics" brand name.

"I want to personally thank Doug for the indispensable role he played in building this business," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement posted to the company's Web site.