No one should criticize Max Long for putting his family first in his decision to leave Canada and the job of Microsoft Canada president.
The only true obligation Max Long has is to himself and his family. Even in this new world of work-life blending, family priorities still outweigh everything else.
Having said all that; can we really be surprised that Max Long left this position at Microsoft Canada? David Hemler, the man chosen to succeed Frank Clegg as Microsoft Canada president, left after one year for the same reason. He had family commitments in Minnesota and chose to be with family.
The marketplace and the channel community understand that Microsoft wants to place an up-and-coming executive in Canada. Microsoft did this with Patti Stonesipher, Simon Witts, the aforementioned Hemler, Phil Sorgen, Eric Gales and now Max Long.
When Microsoft promoted a Canadian they had stability. For example, Malcolm MacTaggert was on board for more than four years. Jeff Dossett ran Microsoft Canada for more than five years and Frank Clegg had two stints as president, lasting a total of 11 years. And, to be fair, Simon Witts and Eric Gales put down roots in Canada and lasted three years apiece.
Leadership is crucial at Microsoft, now more than ever. There is the XP migration happening, which if you believe the pundits will be almost as big as Y2K. Then you have the fact that Microsoft is re-inventing itself as a company and leaning towards more services. That transition has to be handled expertly or it could blow up in their face. This is a time for a Canadian leader of Microsoft.
There is no point hiring someone from outside Canada if that person suddenly gets homesick. Microsoft must get strict assurances from the next leader that he or she will stay in Canada and help to stabilize the subsidiary.
Not having strong leadership will bring on a lack of morale and stifle momentum.
And there are plenty of choices in the marketplace for Microsoft Canada if they choose to select a Canadian executive from outside their ranks. Internally, there are a number of great candidates as well. But Microsoft has been reluctant to promote any of them because the company requires out-of-region experience.
To help in this regard, CDN has put together a slideshow with some top Canadian executives Microsoft Canada can choose from. Just click here.
One quick hit before I go. Howard Tuffnail has left the CFO position at Tech Data Canada to take a similar role with the distributor’s European operations. CDN wishes Howard and his family the very best in their new adventure.