Panos Panay bids adieu to Microsoft and heads to Amazon

19 Sep 2023

Panos Panay. Image: Microsoft

As one of the most recognisable faces in the Microsoft leadership team, Panay has been responsible for the Surface line of devices and Windows 11.

Panos Panay, one of the biggest names in the upper echelons of Microsoft and chief product officer at the company, has announced his departure after nearly 20 years of service.

At the company, he was best known for his role in creating the Surface line of devices and the Windows 11 operating system. His departure comes just days before the Microsoft Surface autumn event on 21 September.

Panay joined Microsoft in 2004 as a group programme manager of PC hardware and quickly rose up the ranks to become corporate VP of PC hardware and Surface in 2013.

In 2015, he was announced as the corporate VP of Microsoft devices, and he became chief product officer of the company in 2018.

Two years ago, he revealed Windows 11 to the world – the second most popular OS created by the company after Windows 10. Soon after, he was promoted to the role of executive VP and joined the company’s senior leadership team that directly advises CEO Satya Nadella.

He is a familiar face in the world of Microsoft, often seen unveiling the company’s new Surface laptops and Windows products. He is also noted for his usage of the word “pumped” during launches.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Panay said that he has “decided to turn the page and write the next chapter” of his career after 19 “incredible” years at Microsoft. “I’m forever grateful for my time at Microsoft and the amazing people I had the honour to make products with,” he wrote.

According to a Bloomberg report, Panay is heading to Amazon to take over the division that creates the Alexa voice assistant and the Echo range of smart speakers, replacing retiring Amazon devices chief Dave Limp.

He will also reportedly no longer present at the Surface event on Thursday but will remain at the company for a few more weeks as part of a transition process.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic