Microsoft looks set to lose another top level executive, with developer group chief Paul Maritz stepping back from his operational role, prior to retiring as soon as next year, according to US press reports.
Another senior Microsoft executive has been reported as saying Maritz’s plans to join a technical leadership group working as a consultant reporting directly to chief executive Bill Gates.
A 13 year veteran of the company, Maritz’s plans to step back were foreshadowed in April, when he sold a tranche of 900,000 company shares, netting himself around $78 million.
He is the latest in a string of senior staff to cede their executive responsibilities at Microsoft this year.
In June, chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold revealed plans to take a year off to pursue personal interests, attracting speculation that he was unlikely to come back in more than an advisory capacity. (see Newswire 1 June)
Windows 95 chief architect Brad Silverberg also elected not to return to full time duties earlier this year, following a two year sabbatical; scotching speculation that a corporate restructure in March would see him return to a hands on position.
The most senior Microsoft executive to take the witness stand in the ongoing antitrust trial, Maritz was savaged by the prosecution during intense questioning over the company’s dealings with browser arch rival Netscape.
Dan Kusnetzky, program director for operating environments at IDC in the US, said Microsoft needed to retain quality people if was to fulfil its growth plans. Replacing staff at Maritz’s level was always difficult, Kusnetzky said.
“It seemed to me he had some very interesting ideas about technology and how to move it forward,” he said. “If he is leaving, that would be a loss.”
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