Microsoft's chief financial officer, Greg Maffei, has resigned to become chief executive of privately held firm Worldwide Fiber.
Worldwide Fiber, which is building a fibre optic network across the US. Maffei has been replaced by John Connors, a 10 year veteran of the software giant, who was formerly vice president of its enterprise group.
Microsoft executives claimed Maffei had warned Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief executive (CEO), of his intention to resign several months ago and as a result, the firm had been preparing for the transition.
Maffei joined Microsoft in 1993 and was named chief financial officer in 1997, but had been approached by various companies for other CEO positions during the year, including Roadrunner, a joint venture of Time Warner and Mediaone Group. Gates, who sits on Roadrunner's board, vetoed the appointment however.
The announcement happened as Microsoft's share price rose $1 11/16 to $117 9/17, giving it a market capitalisation of more than $600 billion for the first time.
This was due to investor optimism that the company's Windows 2000 operating system, which is due to be announced in February, will boost sales significantly.
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