Microsoft COO and de facto sales chief Kevin Turner steps down

7 Jul 2016

Kevin Turner, the man who masterminded turning Microsoft’s 51,000-strong sales team into a strategic asset, is leaving the software giant

One of the most powerful people at Microsoft, its COO Kevin Turner, is to step down after 11 years, having built the software giant’s sales team into a strategic asset.

Turner became COO of Microsoft in 2005. Prior to that he held senior roles at Walmart and was CEO of Sam’s Club for nearly 20 years.

It is understood that Turner is leaving Microsoft to become CEO of Chicago-based Citadel Securities.

‘He built the salesforce into the strategic asset it is today with incredible talent while at the same time more than doubling our revenue’

Future Human

It was during the last 11 years that he turned the sales team at Microsoft – the world’s third-largest company by valuation – into a money-making machine.

Overseeing 51,000 employees, Turner masterminded Microsoft’s entire global sales, field, marketing and services organisations, as well as its partner channel.

“He built the salesforce into the strategic asset it is today with incredible talent while at the same time more than doubling our revenue and driving customer satisfaction scores to the highest in company history,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

 One feedback loop

Such was the impact of Turner’s presence at Microsoft, Nadella said it will take five different executives to fill Turner’s shoes.

Under the new structure, Judson Althoff will lead the worldwide commercial business; Jean-Philippe Courtois will lead global sales, marketing and operations; Chris Capossela will lead the worldwide marketing and consumer business; Kurt DelBene will now also lead IT and operations, in addition to corporate strategy, and Amy Hood will now also lead the current sales marketing and services (SMSG) finance team and worldwide licensing and pricing (WWLP), in addition to the central finance team.

Nadella said: “For the past year, Kevin and I have spoken a great deal about the transformation we are enabling our customers to drive. We have come a great distance, and we need to continue to reach for the next level of customer centricity and obsession in everything we do — sales, marketing, services and product development.

“It’s very important to have ‘one feedback loop’ across all parts of the company with customer value and satisfaction at the centre. This means we must operate, learn and continuously improve collectively.

“To this end, with Kevin’s departure, I have made the decision to more deeply integrate the current SMSG organisation into the rest of Microsoft and form one unified senior leadership team,” said Nadella.

Microsoft image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years